After Midnight

The mother bangs on the wall.

The son turns down the TV

and I sit before the fifteen years

they’ve shared, an awkward lover

in a slippery nightgown.

He did not go to school again today.

Dry winds aggravate his allergies.

He prefers his bed to real life

and she can no longer pick him up,

buckle him in the car,

say, “You will do what I tell you.”

So she turns to me instead.

Draws her knees against her heart

and tucks her body into mine

as if my unused womb

holds all the answers.

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