Occupational hazard

You learned to be watchful, you did
as you were told: ate clean,

abstained from drink while carrying
them to term. The pressure you once felt

against your ribcage has changed to anxious,
constant ticking— Even as they’re grown,

you worry about their happiness (are they
happy?), about their heartbreak; if they have

what they need to make the rent this month,
if they’ve learned to pull back from regret

and save each dream. How long a lifetime now?
You pause to take the last serving from the plate,

you lie in the dark; you wait to be let back into that
country of billowing sheets and untroubled sleep.

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