My Children Asleep on the Chest of September
by Ariana D. Den Bleyker
(published in The Mantle, Issue 6, November 2018)
It’s an alluring feeling, the way their eyes sink low— touch to lids—the shutter, closed moments eternity, the way the child never ends.
Beds burn, long—I walk through where they sleep, endless curve of thigh, thinking of them in this home that is my womb.
I see their faces replaced by the shadow of a mother adjusting her wings. There’s a volcano in my chest mimicking my own intensity.
I would call them storm, muse, on days my hands roam freely the hemline of their expanse. I’d take them back in again, raise their foreheads
to my lips, kiss the lingering memories of their infancy. In this home that is my womb the night calls me—I lay alone wedded to restlessness.
While they were sleeping I might’ve set the house on fire. I could’ve written a lullaby to change the world or maybe pinched an angel until she sang.
Instead, I told their birth stories to a complete stranger, set out across the desert to rebirth their innocence in pyramids, built wonders of my own,
sang songs softly. While they were sleeping, I slept beside them & dreamed in utero, as white as satin & as unsullied, too afraid to turn my back to the bedroom door.