The Battle

The Battle by Nancy Schatz Alton

I am so full of light and dark and I do battle every day.

I make a collage out of my world and pray the lightness wins.

Lately I have dark, dark, dreams.

But last night the end of my dreaming had a spark of light.

I was watching a baby for friends. But two of them were strangers,

one of them Astrid, whose babies are grown.

The man was so stressed when the baby woke

and I rocked that baby to sleep.

It’s OK baby, there’s some lightness here.

I learned how to rock my babies well.

I’m still rocking my babies

who are clearly not babies.

I do it with silence.

My words interrupt their stress

and then I’m sorry.

I’m still rocking my babies

and I do it with late night and early morning store runs.

Here’s a power drink before your PSAT.

Run with me to get some cash from your bank account?

Tell me in the dark how you are, and I’ll listen.

I dreamed last night I was rocking a baby

and it was like I was a rock star.

The father looks on, the fear pulsing from his body

everything tied up in getting that baby back to sleep.

My babies are awake, I rock them in small bursts

and it feels as hard as those early years

I’m no longer singing them songs that I have memorized

worried I’m not singing them enough songs.

Now I’m handing them socks from the dryer,

juice from the early-morning store run,

I’m saying love you as they drive away

my heart taunt in hopes that they will always be OK

even as my hope is false

I hold my hope and rock it, no words,

the energy pulsing off of me:

be OK or at least make it another day

home safe with time to whisper about our days in the dark.

10.10.2018

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