Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Turn the Fire Off

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Barking dogs at dusk
her temperature rises to 101
Pablo waits with wet nose at the door
while my teacup grows cold

For dinner: a bargain is struck
carefully measured sips of chicken soup
in exchange for warm chocolate chip cookies
a lone cricket chirps along loudly to her slurps
somewhere high above our heads

Flushed and listless
drowsy puffy eyes barely conceal
her fear of the dark, night-time silhouettes, the fire
crackles in the half-light of her burning face
smoke billows around aching arms in elephant pajamas

My husband wraps Lily in the warmth of her glow
we talk of carving pumpkins on the harvest moon
and trick-or-treating she laughingly coins "candy-caning"
Gazing through telescopes for pirates, she learns to wink on the potty

I prod her with golden amber droplets of cold syrup
rub her head to soothe the feverish throb and read Corduroy in bed
Sweet dreams, you'll feel better tomorrow
I love you mommy, don't let the bed bugs bite
and turn the fire off


Andrea N. Richesin’s writing and poetry have appeared in Identity Theory, The Southeast Review, and The Happy Booker. She is the editor of three anthologies: The May Queen (Tarcher, 2006); a mother-daughter collection tentatively titled What I Would Tell Her (Mira, 2009); and an as-yet-untitled father-daughter anthology (Mira, 2010). Andrea lives with her husband and four-year-old daughter in San Rafael, California.


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