Self-Portrait as Auntie: A Poem by Nikki Ummel

Baby crib at night
Photo by Bastien Jaillot on Unsplash

Self-Portrait as Auntie 

As the moon rises, I lift him from the crib, his
fingers curling around my hair, pulled
by the whims

of his dreams.
My feet in soft shag, he swathes
my swaying hips,
lays his head on my chest.
Humming Moonlight Sonata,
I press my lips to his cradle cap. The moon

is high as I
(knowing soon
he will rise, seek my side)
lay him down again.

I sweep hair from his eyes, nibble
the tip of his ear, and revel in
his smile, projected from his nighttime palace.

Door cracked, I hear him find the crib’s edge,
pull himself to stand
 before his cry breaks midnight hush.
My personal call to prayer. We repeat:
sleeping child, sleepless caregiver,
midnight snack maker, monster under the bed
slayer. Permanently stained purveyor
of wooden blocks and perpetual peeker
of those hidden boos.

I lift him from the crib.
The moon sets.

Scroll to Top