To Sleep Among Tall Cedars

By Catherine Forster

Door closed,

eyes surveying shadow stained walls.

Curled in a fetal position,

rooted to the bed,

trussed to the springs,


A muted knock, receding under cover,

nix riposte.


Belly first, Conor slips in,

quiet, watching, waiting.

A pair of damp Goodnights,

a t-shirt bought at the zoo,

animal prints frolicking over his bellybutton.

He searches,


where is she?


Turning away, running,

voice playing tag with his toes.

Cartoons howl on the TV

but no kid laughter.

Emptiness swells,

stomach to throat, eyes, temples,

but no tears.

Dust dried.


Alien attachments,

unfaithful breasts, ooze milk,

drowning sheets, sopping my nightgown.

Almost a baby sister,


now but a barren cavity.

No diapers, no cartoons for her, or

Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Roo.


In my dreams, a toddler,

a frilly dress, spotted on Halsted.


a mop of unruly red hair,

blanket beneath us,

chubby toes, wobbly canter.

Ring around the rosy,

twirl her spectral playmates.


A paper urn,

envelope half empty.

To sleep among tall cedars,

the Cascade Mountains, and the sea.

Water slapping rocks,

pebbles smoothed in brine,

salty air.

Sea’s cradle.


Aim and tip,

a sudden gust,

arms dusted, she clings.

A gentle brushing and

womb to water.

Swimming, floating, slipping,

nuzzling bottom’s belly,

now slumber.