Skip to page content
Return to Top

Bedtime Ritual

Trinity Dempsey


     one quick tug at my state of mind

                   and the pearls tumble, skitter

            bouncing here and there

                                  chasing and scooping, they must be gathered

     to tend to the task at hand

                                                 only two hours remain

              'til the earliest possible bedtime

                                       being a good mama will allow

                                                   sweet anticipation of declaring this day done,

     for five minutes of decadent, chocolate solitude.

                but for now, Duties form a line to taunt me

the lunchboxes need filling

                                           string cheese and a juice box,

                       satisfying each food group

                                                             that open pail an omen for the tongue-lashing

                                concerning those poor, starving children in China.

                         jigsaw mom is scrubbing pots and pans and behind each ear

dumping dinner’s casualties

                                                                   and turning down the volume on this debate:

                                 Whose turn is it to sleep with the dog?

                                                         all the while trying to reach the peak of Mount Laundry

                     now sending warriors off to vanquish those sugar bugs in foamy death

                                             then twenty sweet-soap smelling piggies converge to

                                giggle at the unfortunate demise of fat and greedy Augustus Gloop.

                                                  eight o'clock is standing on the horizon

                      with his swelled chest and red cape

                                       those sweet, darling monsters hone the tactics of their craft

              masters of delay—aches, pains and rumbling tummies

missing blankie again—

                  dingy, once white affection demanding a search party

                            no rest for the weary until it's located

                                                          finally, cocooned in the fragrance of home,

              I long to rock and hold suspending this moment

                                                      but Deadline glares at me from the doorway

                           and Fatigue and Responsibility urge me not to linger

                                                   instead, a firm pat and a hasty kiss to perfect cheeks

              at last, Silence conquers           

                                  a tip-toe and a peek confirm departure into dreamland.

                                                            I dare the faintest touch, brushing back silken strands

              let Busy-ness wait with his crossed arms and the tap-tap-tap of his toe

this moment, I choose for my Loves