These nights come in
with a clap of cool storm’s drizzled breath
applause of rain
lamps that hold our shadows in;
finally the children sleep.
I comb the house
listen to the pipes whinny
cars shush the tarmac.
Crumbs stick to the soles of my feet
and scratch the floor like a catch in the throat.
He coughs. It’s nothing. Coughs again.
And then the teeming
choking breath, the ‘I can’t talk, mum.’ husk
‘my mouth won’t breathe.’
I’m by him, rubber seals his mouth
and together we count four breaths.
Then four again
And it is over.
His child’s body splits mine open.
This boy who takes breath
and fills our house with it.
The pillow holds his head, now
touch him gently, sleep
The mo-poke owl
calls all the loneliness away
the house settles further to the ground.