Star Mother

By Laura Ditto

Where were you last night?

I was striding across the clouds, plucking stars from sleepy dark beds. I combed back their wild hair and hugged them tight before setting them into their blankets, watching them glow a little brighter.

You see, this is my job.

You see, without me, night would never be the same.

Where were you last night?

I sat alone at the edge of the universe, looking over all that rests in the dark hours. You were not among them, were you?

You see, I watch over those who need to rest.

You see, you should have been asleep.

Where were you last night?

I was swimming in inky black skies and diving into the atmosphere. Distracting you long enough so you would not notice one of the stars as they ran to kiss the moon goodnight one last time.

You see, I think you saw the sun leave its place.

You see, you saw the impossible.

Where were you last night?

Not in your bed that I made for you just right. Each night I tuck you in, too, though you may not see me hidden in your corners.

You see, I am the monster in your closet.

You see, I am the shadow behind the door.

Where were you last night?

I looked for you where stars don’t go. You rascal, adventurer, meddlesome child; I searched over each mountain for you—in every cave.

You see, I feared you might be missing.

You see, I thought you got too far away.

Where were you last night?

Surely not sleeping; not if you think I’m speaking to you this morning. You should not speak to things like me—people will say you are crazy.

You see, most people don’t like to talk to me.

You see, most people fear the dark.

Now where were you last night?

Sitting atop the highest hill to wish me a goodnight? I dare say you are not like the other children.

You see, you must be a star.

You see, you must be mine.

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