Up the ladder On the loft She snuggles in with her boy Her hand on his small back Memorizing the little bumps of his spine That mole on his shoulder The silk of his hair Scratching his back until his rhythmic breath Informs her of sleep. There is only this moment. Only she and her little boy. The one God gave her out of heartache. The beauty born out of the ashes. And she is wholly unable to remove herself from this beauty Motionless she fears when he wakes He will be compelled to witness the slow fade of his mama. If she moves from this place This moment This quiet This stillness It will become memory Tomorrow will then come And she’s not ready So she leans her head on the pillow Her hand resting on the small of his back And stays far longer than she intends. Capturing every morsel of this sweet gift. Breathing deeply in darkness The knowing floating through her mind The unsettling gift of knowing life is a vapor And the knowing is most assuredly a gift because in it all else fades The schedules. The bills. The dirty forks in the kitchen sink. They matter none There is only now And it is altogether fitting to rest on this pillow In a bed not her own To be wholly absorbed in each passing moment Breathing in. Breathing out. Memorizing the little bumps of his spine That mole on his shoulder The silk of his hair Morning comes Days build upon days Years build upon years And that mama doesn’t fade Instead she grows Yet Still she can feel the weight of that night. The waves of fear. The ache of love. The longing for time. Still she can see with crystal clarity the little bumps on his spine That mole on his shoulder The silk of his hair She cherishes the stirring emotions of the memory Still she knows within her soul the loveliest piece of that night was the knowing Because in the knowing all else fades There is only now. And now is a gift all its own.