The air was stale beneath the blanket

My mom had crocheted

There were hearts on it

But the air –

It was cold as it tickled my face

I couldn’t twitch my nose

I had to lie


The sounds weren’t still

I could hear my sister’s breathing

Steady and even

It took eight lullabies

To put her to sleep tonight

I could hear the television

Blaring game show network downstairs

I think it was Match Game

The radiator was crackling

Blasting warm air into the chill

And I could hear his footsteps

Coming up the stairs

The tread was uneven

He went over to the old white dresser

The broken drawer from a former tantrum

Squeaking as he opened it

I could imagine the mirror reflecting

His dark, dark hair and swarthy skin

I knew he could see my books on the floor

My secret yellow notebook was exposed

The heavy tread again

Coming towards my bed

All I could see was blackness

I couldn’t open my eyes

I forced my breathing to sound

Steady and even

He touched my shoulder

And a tear trickled down my cheek