The conductor smooths the music down as gently as I tuck the blanket’s fringe
over our sleeping baby, soft as his dreaming, down to barely a whisper’s breath
as the orchestra swings in time to his lullaby’s rocking, to a breeze’s change
on the midnight face of a moonless lake, found at the end of an unknown path
where the dying note of a flute hangs in the air above darkness’ secret plunge.

I’ve been holding back. This cough. This tickle down in my irritated throat.
I fight against it breaking out. It struggles with me like in a wrestling match
hanging on for the round to end, to end, to end, to end, to end so I can shut
it down. Make it quit. Lock it away. Gone. Done. Swallow hard on the itch
until it rests in silence like our baby’s lost song wrapped tight throughout.

Aren’t you so proud of me for not doing what I willed myself not to have done?
No, I suppose it’s not to be. Missed missing it, didn’t you. Heaped your praise
on that concert performance so perfectly filling spaces we’d thought long gone
to our baby’s endless cold night. Never mind my own contribution to the cause
nor that I wouldn’t have mentioned this if it had anything to do with his pain.

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