Baby blanket rolled under his shoulders
so his head drops back, he exposes his neck,
the tulip of his tracheostomy weighed down
by the HME do you know
what this means the split
square of gauze I fit under
the neonate Bivona rubber collar
damp with milk.
No one should have to endure
the constant baring of his throat,
this hole I can't let close
I pinch the plastic stem so it won't shift,
wipe away the stickiness, dry and replace
with fresh gauze to prevent breakdown
this new ritual, less than five minutes.
And he sleeps: a kind of forgiveness.
Lane Falcon's poems can be found or are coming out in publications including The Chattahoochee Review, Rhino, The Cortland Review, and more. She won an award for poetry too long ago to mention by name. A single mother of two, one with special needs, she lives in Alexandria, Virginia.