I wondered once why infants have bad dreams
who haven’t lived enough to learn to fear,
and what comprises puppy nightmare themes,
and how a kitten monster could appear.
And I don’t have an answer, but I know
it’s true – the innocents can sleep afraid
and grieving – their contortions tell me so.
By cries and shakes their terrors are betrayed.
And much as I’d prevent the phantom wound,
I think it’s practice, like a lullaby
or fairy tale, a Caution or Amen.
Today your sleeping cry has me harpooned.
I hold you, and you slay me with your “I
just want to be a happy kid again.”