we don't let you cry it out but we let you cry because you need to exhaust yourself. i hold you and you cry. it's your thing you do. you fuss (cry) and you whimper (cry) and you almost settle but you always first wail (cry) so you can whimper (small cry) so you can sleep, finally sleep.
you pull my necklace and i play with your hair. you pull it, to bite. your head is sweaty from the crying. i rock us using my feet. i soothe you using my hands. gently, i play with your hair. you pull my necklace.
i swirl it in circles, gathering up its heat, its milky-sweet scent. i whirl with your whorls, then against them. you grab the strap of my tank top. you bite the fabric. i sculpt you a duck tail.
i got a flu shot today and you baby, you already know how to fidget. you pick at the bandaid on my arm as if it's a scab. i tease you a faux-hawk. you won't sleep, concentrating, so i remove my own bandaid. distraction gone, you chew my shirt again. i dip your tufts back into your dewy scalp, gathering more sweet sweat. you tug at the fabric. i spike you all over.
you incline against me, just a little, denying your sleepiness even as you relax into me. i swirl your locks. little ringlets curve around my fingers. your breathing quiets, just slightly.
you buck again to stare at me. do not go gently into this good night. i shape finger waves in your fine locks. you give a half-smile and slump, assenting. i smooth your hair into a peaceful cap for sleep.
except for one tendril, your superman curl: i tighten its form against your forehead. and into your crib, steadily, smoothly, i lay you gently down to sleep.