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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Child Wakes in the Middle of the Night (Karen Benke)

Standing at my bed he whispers, Mama,
then grips my hand, explaining
You have to come quick—Right now.
It’s important, he says, leading me out the back door,
wind cartwheeling through wet grass
where he says I must go to help him
find the rock his father gave him, the one he dropped
into the make-believe pond he was fishing,
moonlight spilling into the redwoods
where I find myself wrapped in a white robe,
each of my tired uh-huhs confirming his belief
in the invisible world he insists I travel—
his young life overgrown with curiosity, Blackbird’s flight
a shadow I pray will protect him, as he finds his way
through the miles of stories he loves—
Not from a book, from your mouth, he demands,
asking if I’ll tell him how, when I was little
and couldn’t sleep, my mama let me retrace my steps
through a rainy garden, to find what I thought I had lost.

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