This Tiny Thing Sleeps

This tiny thing sleeps on my chest,
fitful sleep,
his mewlings birthed by
what dreams I cannot imagine.
The curving sole of his foot,
pressed against my hand,
lacks the callous of tomorrow,
lacks the cracked abrasions
we older souls
borrow from the ground.

His mother tends his sister upstairs,
and I am left with this
unfamiliar child
clinging to me,
left grasping for lullabies
I don’t remember how to sing,
and I fear the gallop
of my unsettled heart
beneath his head will wake him.

His fist encircles my broad finger–
and my finger has never before seemed broad–
with the surprising strength of infancy.
His head settles
into the cradle curve of my throat,
and he is quiet,
he is quiet,
a tiny thing asleep on my chest.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.