How is it that you sleep through thunderstorms with raindrops as heavy as tiny cannonballs, thunder as loud as a forest of ancient trees felled with one swift thwack? And yet the moment I creep in…you must feel a shift in the molecular structure of air, added weight in the darkness, a breath separate from your own.
A whimper, as though you had been expecting me all along. Just as suddenly, you topple over onto your blanket and your eyes close. I slip out, restoring the molecular structure, subtracting my weight from the dark space, leaving you to the lull of a forest collapsing.
Tell me the story of a girl who grew up to be a queen, a giant, a mother. Speak to me of flat-footed marches two-by-two down hallways, of snowflakes falling onto outstretched mittens in moonlight, of fingers that trace my ear as we slow dance to a bedtime lullaby, of palms streaked yellow from dandelions offered at my feet, of fingernails caked in the earth of summer, of I-love-you whispers traded under blankets, of pockets stuffed full of treasures and smiles laced with mischief.
Tell me a love story.
Tell me how two boys with starfish eyes and pirate smiles appear at the queen’s door, and the moment their hands fall into hers, she becomes the star-filled night, bestowing her light on the path her boys will tread.
Tell me how the star-filled night becomes the sun — a giant — capable of slaying dragons, foiling the huntsman, deceiving the witch. Tell me how the sun becomes a ray of light that touches the temples of her boys and warms their skin.
Tell me how that light becomes a mother who shines the porch light to call her starfish-pirate boys home. And when her boys lean in for a kiss, she whispers “I love you” into their parted lips so the words might travel deep into their bellies and they’ll have food for years, even when the porch light grows dim, even when the star-filled night feels unimaginably far.
Tell me how thunder shook the queen from sleep, so she tiptoed into the room of her slumbering boys to watch them dream. For never is it so clear that they are made of stars than in the half-light of the moon.