I must have been about my toddler’s age in this memory:
trying to fall asleep for an afternoon nap
upstairs in the farmhouse, my mom lying
beside me, me putting my arm around
her, wanting her to stay even after I fell
asleep. She was always gone
when I woke.

My youngest child asks me
to lie with her, crying
when I don’t, and when I do
she wraps one of her small arms around
each of mine, hugging me, falling asleep,
her head propped on my torso. She 
is always damp with sweat.

I remember that fear of being left
and I stay,
so many of my own early memories filtered
through an anxiety I recognize now
in that sensitivity, creativity, quickness
to tears, as I am now, always
have been.

I lie here with her, and often drift off
myself with prayers for her peace, a life
of bravery and courage, I ask
on her behalf, and sometimes
I wonder but have never asked
what my own mother prayed
for me in those moments
as she snuck out.