Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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He always sleeps
in the early afternoon,
his small body hunched

in on itself like a question mark.
Of course I have to answer it,
walking back to stand above

the crib again and again,
staying long enough
to see the small

rise and fall of his back.
When he wakes he will climb
the chair in the kitchen.

His brother will
brush against that

same small part of his back.
He will fall and I will know his pain
because I will count the seconds

between the first
scream and
the cry that follows,

those breathless, gasping
seconds, every muscle in his body
tense: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.

A graduate of Spalding University’s MFA program, Matthew Vetter’s work appears online in Semantikon, Public Republic, and American Life in Poetry. You can access more of his poems at or read the blog he shares with poet Jill Kelly Koren at He is father to Ben (6) and Jonah (3) and lives in Morehead, Kentucky.

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