Sleep well my child


Sleep well my child
- a lament for a lost child in the 5.12 earthquake

No, you are not like this before – lying there, breathless.
Never. Your shirt is wrinkled with dirt, your tangled hair
covering a smeared face that wears a painful frown.
A girl amiable to everyone in this little town,
now has fallen asleep too early too soon, even without
giving me a good-night hug, without, as usual, waiting
for me to tuck you up. I’ll not wake you up my child, but
gently I’ll clean your face with my tears, comb your hair
into a smooth ponytail and set the alarm clock for the dawn.
What’s in your dream? Homework? House chores?
Put them all aside for now because you are so tired.
Sleep well my child, sleep well in my arms…