Vigil

to Yi-Mei

I am no longer young. I know
what we love, we will lose.
Your head resting in my lap
as you hold your newborn
to your open breasts, milk scent,
mown hay. Snow falls
beneath the street lamp’s glow,
flutter of her eyelashes as you nurse
her into dreams of light and shadow.
I read in the tow of candles we lit
to mark this evening’s coming.
With my free hand I gloss dark waves
of your hair. All I want is to unknot
what anchors you here, to ease you
into sleep. If I could read the notes
of your new mother’s heartbeat
that I feel against my thighs,
they’d be a lullaby –
                                       Don’t be afraid.
                                 We love what we will lose.
 I am not young anymore.
Your body sighs, you slip
into sleep’s undertow,
the anchor rope,
tossed to shore.