I used to sleepwalk.
Throughout my childhood,
I rose at odd hours,
took to my bare feet,
fled through the kitchen door
and into the moonlight.
I don’t remember it,
but I understand it.
What I wanted then
was a mother who was sober,
if not all of the time, then at least
some of the time.
I wanted to curl into soft blankets
and wake to the smell of pancakes
and quiet in the house.
I yearned for a cool glass of water
on a clean white tablecloth.
It was not to be.
Until these days of quarantine and face masks,
I had forgotten about my need for safety.
It was buried deeply in the fine sifted soil of university,
covered over in the frail gauze called 401K.
I have found safety in distance –
social and otherwise.
This city encircled in mountains
is 1600 miles from that kitchen door.
and I am still not sure if it is far enough.
Today, I can hear that little girl’s voice.
She hisses like a teapot gone to boil,
high pitched and impossible to ignore.
She cries and I try to soothe her
but she knows better.
She knows that my solution is
to sleepwalk my way through it
and she is wise enough now to know
that this is not an answer.
Still, she wants to be held
by someone stronger than her.