My Son, the Night Light, the Dark

Erin Adair-Hodges | Poetry

La tortuga carries all the stars on her back—
they burst from humps of shell and shine
the blue room with stories, the bear

on his eternal hunt, Cassiopeia drowsy
and expectant with tragedy. Buttons
change the hue—green, gold, the purple

of a bruise. He asks me to lie with him
until the stars disappear. I have things
to do, corners of myself to crawl into,

but I lay my body next to his and ask him
what he sees in his head. No one, he whispers,
likes me. As if he’s read from the book

I wrote. I press him into me swallow
such words and remind him he was invented
to be loved. He is five and wishes he wasn’t

alive. The black claw
scuttles from its clamp inside me, peeks
from my throat to creep through his lips,

moving from the husked host to suck
his marrow, so glittering it pounds
through his skin. I can save my love

from nothing, not the bad blood
that’s beat my heart to scab,
not grief ribboning my milk.