Night Talks by Terri Kirby Erickson

Night Talks

When one would wake in the night, the other
followed. Then, in their bed, next to their window
that was always open, my mother and father
would talk to the sound of cars going by,
the hum of streetlights, the occasional bark
of a neighbor’s dog. They spoke of high school
dances, family vacations, raising children,
being grandparents. And their faces, soft
with age and sleep, were hidden in the dark,
so they could speak at last of their lost son,
without any need to shield each other from
that pain. It must have been a relief to unpack
the shared sadness they courageously carried,
to put it down, if only for an hour. It was like
I could hear them from my own bed
across town, as I slipped into a deeper sleep,
reassured and comforted by their beloved
familiar voices echoing among the stars.


Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of six collections of poetry, including A Sun Inside My Chest (Press 53, Fall, 2020). Her work has appeared in Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry,” Asheville Poetry ReviewAtlanta ReviewJAMAPoet’s MarketThe Christian CenturyThe SunThe Writer’s AlmanacValparaiso Poetry ReviewVerse Daily, and many others. Her awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Nazim Hikmet Award, and a Nautilus Silver Book Award. She lives in North Carolina.

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