When I sleep with pain, it feels more present in the bed
than my husband, his body breathing beside me
under cheap sheets. He’s a deep-sea diver, submerging himself
wholly in his dreams, while I do the backstroke on the surface.
I wish I could blame this on our children, who need ears above
water to hear them, but the lightness of my slumber pre-dates
them, my pain pre-dates them, even though they have nurtured
that pain because of what they need from me. A body to birth
them was not enough, should not be, when I chose them,
a gift history has given me. A gift I could not be more grateful for,
a gift I list to myself in the tide pools of sleep, trying to imagine
pain away from my body, as if it could become just a fish swimming past.
[Check out Caitlin Thomson's back porch advice]