an off-key lullaby
the truck, loud neighbor, or garage door you're cursing
your certainty that if you stop watching, your baby will stop breathing
your breath as you listen for the baby's
the static of a white noise machine
the cry that comes before the cry that means you'll have to go in
your partner's impenetrable sleep
the foreboding that something horrible has happened just offscreen
the fight you'd prefer the rest of your visiting relatives hadn't just heard
a cheerful "I love you!" at tuck-in
a laugh...or a cry?
the rusting of sheets...or ripping of library books?
a small brown stuffed animal...or a mess to clean tomorrow?
the closet door...or the bedroom door?
your screaming at your child for screaming at you
exclamations of "I did it!"
wonder of what "it" you'll find in the morning
confidences whispered to stuffed animals
the new book read aloud three times
the book hitting the floor
the need for a private inner life.