I am the first thing that she named,
And the lisp stuck, though now I’m maimed
Half-blinded, stained, thumbed to a shred
By love’s attrition, I who tamed
The nightmare coiled beneath the bed,
And foiled the fever in the head,
And sopped up leaks of snot and tears;
At night she reached for me instead
Of arms to lullaby her fears.
And yet my obsolescence nears:
Plush is not so thick or deep
It is not balded by the years.
She wants me still, though, and will weep
Unless I guard the gates of sleep,
Granting her passage through the dark.
And I’m the vigil that you keep:
Left in a taxi, dropped at the park —
Such worries haunt you, comic, stark:
The ways that I might be mislaid
And the heart heal, but leave a mark.
Once, she misplaced me. How you prayed!
She was distressed, but you afraid —
To lose her first not needing you,
That comfort she both took and made.