Kay Mullen

No Ordinary Sleep

My father lifts me to the crook
of his arm. I feel the stiff tie
around his throat, sense
the hard knot inside.

My grandfather rests below,
his face familiar as if
in deep slumber. A child of five,
I expect him to waken.

He lies in a strange bed,
satin pillow and suit telling me
this is no ordinary sleep.
We are surrounded by aunts,

uncles numbered by suddenness.
There will be no more smoke rings
nor sweet surprises under overturned
plates at dinnertime. My father lifts

me down, picks up my sister
who cries, pleads the still form speak.
I glean the grieving faces,
feel the arm of God wrap me

safely in my grandmother's skirt.

Copyright 1996, Kay Mullen

Kay Mullen is a child/family counselor living in Renton, WA. Her poetry has been
published in The Antigonish Review, Literature and Belief, M.E.N.'s Magazine, and