Baby’s breath poem

Sleeping child

Today’s poem is a response to Michelle H. Barnes’ “These Are the Hands” challenge on Today’s Little Ditty: “Consider writing about the place that empathy has in your own life—a time you offered compassion to another or a time it was freely given to you.”

Freely given … this is the first thing that comes to mind. Adapted from a post I wrote three years ago.

He wakes—that sound.

That rasp.Is it?

It is.

He traces it to the crib.

The baby. Just three months old.

Not breathing right.

Hand to her little faceno fever.

She stirs under his touch, still sleeping.

Breath ragged, rattling.

He is young.

It is his first child.

He goes back to bed.


he carries his baby with him.

Lies awake all night

with her beside him

making sure

she still breathes.

-She does.

Long after he does not.


Thank you

for all the nights

you watched over me

when asthma attacked,


Photo: Angel1. peasapCC BY

8 thoughts on “Baby’s breath poem

    • Thank you, Margaret. It’s almost a found poem of my own post! He was up at night for years, checking on me, running a vaporizer, giving me meds… so he came to mind immediately. He told me this story of the first asthma attack and I’ve treasured it all my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So absolutely beautiful. The care and the compassion he showed. Yes, it’s technically what a father “should” do.

    And yet.

    It means the world, all of these small moments of being there and being there and being there.

    As for me, my compassion poem was written the day my brother died. I was up at night, long after having sat with my sister-in-law while she told her son what had happened, and long after having sat with my mother, who was trying to put the pieces together. Every so often, I come back to that poem. But boy oh boy is it hard.

    Liked by 1 person

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