At ease in a threadbare rocking chair
gently gliding through the steady hum of the white noise machine,
the bedroom illuminated only by the soft hallway light spilling under the door,
I idle in the familiar evening routine,
subtly patting my baby’s bottom
willing him to sleep…
From the stairs, a clambering sound!
It signals the nightly invasion.
Dread sets in as two shadows cut through the calm pool of light.
The feet that created them approach their intended target.
I tense up, defensively, as I do each time,
ready to thwart the attack
of the five-year-old boy,
desperate to break in
and smother his brother with kisses.
I hear, instead,
the faintest of whispers:
I love you.