That one night

You were a child
in the tender grasp of sleep,
your eyes shut tight,

suddenly vulnerable

as you gripped my waist with abandon.

I wondered
What it must’ve been like for your mother
and when she stopped knowing you
like I did.

There in your unwashed sheets,
I watched as your dreams held captive your broken pieces,
stifling your chaos
and stitching you into coveted repose .

I tried to find my own.

You sighed and pulled me closer .

Exhaling in hot little gusts
that rose and fell against the tiny hairs of my neck,
you spoke with your arms,

and I felt my weakness slide into my throat,

a swallowed flame
starved of the oxygen to burn,
hidden behind my unsteady breath.

Morning crept onto your face
and you rose from the shadow of that boy beside me,
shaking the down from your stature
and steeling your expression

as I lay there pretending not to notice.

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