artwork: ralph murre
by Wilda Morris
As a child I fell asleep
to the whistle of the night train
moaning like a woman in pain,
the wheels on the track
more rackety than an old walker
pushed across a wooden floor.
Tonight I’m at the old home place,
one ear tuned and waiting.
Let me be small again
in this house warm with love
and the scent of apple dumplings.
Let me lean against Mother
as she sings or deals out cards
for a game of rummy.
Let her tuck me in,
read me a goodnight story,
her kiss warm on my left cheek.
Let me be a child again one short hour
before I take the night pills to Mother,
tuck her beneath the quilt,
touching my lips
to her wrinkled forehead,
before the night train passes.
~ previously published in Cradle Songs: An Anthology of Poems on Motherhood (Quill and Parchment Press)