There were many endless nights in the dark,
cradled in my mother’s arms,
while she rocked back and forth.
I choked and gasped,
struggled to breathe…fought to live.
Her white lace nightgown was drenched
from the steam of the old vaporizer.
Her dark hair hung in soaking ringlets,
down her back.
The soothing beat of her heart against my ear
matched the rhythm of the old rocker,
as she held me close to her breast,
softly humming an ancient wordless song,
only mothers know.
A white linen sheet draped my old crib,
enclosing us in a blanket of warm steam.
She never stopped rocking, hour after endless hour,
her small hand gently stroking my feverish head,
slender fingers softly smoothing wet baby hair.
Through all those long hours, she crooned
soft wordless whispers to quiet my wrenching cough.
Until at last the heavy black clutch of fear,
breathing in the hovering shadows all around,
secretly slipped away into the silent night .
All the while I slept, she rocked…
Back and forth, back and forth,
back and forth.