Mothers seem to know, even new ones can tell
when a cry is different, the forehead a bit warmer,
complexion not quite the same, a changed appetite.
She knew when to stay home, when to insist, when
to give in. Her voice and descriptions of the baby
made the doctor tell her, “Take him to the hospital”.
A few more hours would’ve been too late, he said.
Tonight, I’m walking home, just three blocks
to the little rented house on Compton Avenue.
I’ll sleep alone, it’s my wife’s turn to spend the
night in a chair next to our son’s hospital bed.
It’s a colder than usual January with temperatures
in the teens, I shiver under my too thin winter coat,
I clench my fists in my gloves, wrap my scarf tighter.
I wonder if tears can freeze as I think of losing him.