Words in the night

February 3rd, 2012

Sunday nights I lie in bed with SB until he falls asleep. Most nights I climb into bed next to him for a while – ten minutes or so – but Sunday is “snuggle night” and I stay in bed with him until he’s asleep. Last Sunday night, I had been in bed with him about five minutes when a line of poetry came to me – not just a line, but a way into a persona I’ve been wondering if I can possibly write convincingly. I sat straight up and whispered “Sorry, I’ll be right back,” and grabbed a piece of blank paper and a pencil (a colored pencil, it turned out, dark red) from SB’s desk and jotted down the line. I climbed back into bed and SB asked me if I had thought of an idea for a poem.

I love that he knows this about me.

“Yes, I thought of something that I had to write before I forgot.”

“What did you write?” he asked, and I told him. It’s a line in the third person, about a “he” figure, and SB asked who “he” was.

“I don’t know yet, I’m still figuring that out. Sometimes things come to me in pieces and I have to put them together like a puzzle.”

“Is the he me?” he asked.

“No, I don’t think so. I think it’s a grown man remembering being a boy.”

“Okay,” he said and we curled up again.

Five minutes later, another line. The closing line, probably; it felt like a closing line. I jumped out of bed again.

“Another idea?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I’ll be right back.”

I jotted down the line and climbed back into bed. Then SB sat up.

“Wait, sorry, I forgot something,” he said and climbed out of bed. He went to his desk, found a pencil and a scrap of paper, and jotted down some letters. He got back into bed, then said “Oh, wait,” and did it again. Then he came to bed and curled up and slowly fell asleep, my son who seems to understand, a little bit, what it is that I do.