“The Beginning of a Long Night” by Gabrielle Mittelbach

Gabrielle Mittelbach


Someday I will miss this, I know.
I will miss the dog hairs on my bed
and the bed clothes rumpled into a tent
when I get home from work at six o’clock.
I’ll miss the yellow crayon scribbled
on the TV screen that’s been there
since Kids-Eat-Free night at Denny’s.

I will miss the odor of burnt mustard,
exploded marshmallows and the thick coils
of smoke that emanated from the microwave
on that seemingly quiet afternoon. My son
laughed at me for an hour after that incident.
He repeated my moans of horror over and over,
like when I read him his favorite book again and again.

Now it is past midnight and he is beside me
in his Batman pajamas and his snores
lull me like the gentle motion of a late night
car ride home and I complain, I know.
I complain about how he snores and how,
when he sleeps, his little feet always seem
to find their way to the crook of my neck.

It’s not so far off that I will miss them,
those little feet. Someday, I will watch them
as they walk away from me slowly, surely,
farther and farther into the distance. I will
think of them late at night, on a night like this
and I will wonder how far they have walked
and who’s neck they have found to touch.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007


Gabrielle Mittelbach: “I think writing poetry is like discovering an underground labyrinth. Each time I go in, I want to go deeper.”

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