Sleeping Daughter

March 13, 2015

The Big Bad Wolf and Wicked Witch liked to creak the stairs by her bedroom door and wake her from dreams calling, “Daddy!”

The Big Bad Wolf and Wicked Witch

liked to creak the stairs by her bedroom door

and wake her from dreams calling, “Daddy!”

With an audience of Barbies, I would lull her

back to sleep with stories of heroic mice

and girls who brandished swords.

With the turn of a page she returns home

to sleep in her old bed, and I stand at her door

and listen to the soft sighs of her breathing

before she drives the pre-dawn dark

to surgery rounds, fourteen purulent hours

of missed meals, wound dehiscence,

and stress at the bottom of the pecking order.

I whisper, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,”

praying she won’t faint in the OR,

praying attendings won’t pimp her too hard,

praying she won’t get a needle stick,

still desperate to protect her any way I can.