Ariana D. Den Bleyker – My Children Asleep on the Chest of September

Ariana D. Den Bleyker

My Children Asleep on the Chest of September

It’s an alluring feeling, the way their eyes sink low—
touch to lids—the shutter,
closed moments eternity, the way the child never ends.

Beds burn, long—I walk through where they sleep,
endless curve of thigh, thinking
of them in this home that is my womb.

I see their faces replaced by the shadow of a mother
adjusting her wings. There’s a volcano
in my chest mimicking my own intensity.

I would call them storm, muse, on days my hands roam freely
the hemline of their expanse.
I’d take them back in again, raise their foreheads

to my lips, kiss the lingering memories of their infancy.
In this home that is my womb the night calls
me—I lay alone wedded to restlessness.

While they were sleeping I might’ve set the house on fire.
I could’ve written a lullaby to change
the world or maybe pinched an angel until she sang.

Instead, I told their birth stories to a complete stranger,
set out across the desert to rebirth
their innocence in pyramids, built wonders of my own,

sang songs softly. While they were sleeping, I slept
beside them & dreamed in utero, as white as satin & as unsullied,
too afraid to turn my back to the bedroom door.


Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of three collections, fifteen chapbooks, a novelette, an experimental memoir, and two crime novellas. She hopes you’ll fall in love with her words.

Issue 6 • Next: Howard Faerstein – Switchbacks