Our young son wheezes softly in his sleep
In the middle of our bed, arms embracing
Stuffed animals, favorite blanket in hand.
For years, our bed has been his bed as well.
He knows his formal bedroom is elsewhere,
And he will go there if my wife and I insist.
But absent guests or relatives, we rarely do.
He always smiles on climbing in with us.
We talk and wonder about things. I read
The current book in progress, rub his back.
Then, almost between words, it is just
Soft breath, and his warmth between us.
Once he’s asleep, our cat, quiet and still wary
From the rigors of his waking hours
Pads in to stare, knead him with her claws,
And sometimes lick his hair in place.
This arrangement will not last, of course;
Soon he will grow beyond us. My wife and I
Will reclaim the space he leaves behind.
But let him snuggle in with us a little longer
Safe and happy in knowing he’s well loved,
Surrounded by his stuffed seal and other
Soft and loyal friends, the cat, and two who
Marvel still how one plus one makes three.
Chuck Toll's Other Poems
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