For My Miming
You would close your eyes
Stiffen your body
And hold your breath for a minute
Not making a sound, not moving an inch,
Making me think
You were dead
That you’d left me
And it was my fault.
You used to enjoy telling people
How scared I was as I shook your body
How hard you tried to control your laughter,
And how smart I was
To tickle your foot to “wake” you up.
Now as I look at how your lids don’t move
As your eyes are closed
Your body stiff and cold to the touch,
I am tempted to tickle your foot again.
But I’m not a child anymore
And I know this is no longer the silly game
That the once-goofy mother
Used to play with her youngest child.
The machines don’t lie
You have really left me
And you won’t wake
No matter how many times
I whisper in your ear
Or squeeze your hand
Or kiss your cheeks.
The game has ended.
And I lost.