The morning begins like this: / by Christina Rosalie

The morning begins when I am less awake than dreaming, and with shut eyes I shift my body, truing towards the warmth of my husband beside me; pressing my nose against the warmth of his bare shoulder. I pat the edge of the bed when I hear my littlest come in, carrying his bear, a pacifier in his mouth. He climbs up and burrows in next to me like a puppy, finding the curve between my neck and shoulder where little head fits just exactly so. Then we all doze, until his brother starts to call from their room down the hall; ever the bright eyed one in the morning, Bean wakes up curious, eager, effervescent, loud. Sprout props himself up on an arm, then sits off, shoving the warm covers back. “I’m coming,” he calls, then trundles off. The morning begins like this: I am between sleep and waking, sitting at the edge of a mossy dock. Below me the water is warm, and when I slip into it I discover amethysts sparkling below the surface. Then I am here, with the cat purring at my hip, and I roll over so that I can run my hand along her apricot fur, her purr vibrating up through my finger tips, into my palm, my pulse. In the kitchen below me, the boys sound like herd animals. They make the wood floor thunder. They shriek and laugh and yell. The house smells like woodsmoke and bacon (two of my favorite things) and soon I push back the covers and stumble toward the shower, my vision blurring suddenly to stars. Head rush. I hold the door frame and pause.

The morning begins with all four of us around the butcher block island in the kitchen on stools. There are white bowls of oatmeal with butter and maple syrup, seedy toasted baguettes with butter and raspberry preserves, fried eggs, bacon, flat whites. There are greasy little boy fingers. There is a scuffle over the last slice of bacon. Both boys ask for milk, then water. T and I look at each other over the table and smile.

The morning begins with this: I am sitting beside the wood stove, this mix is playing and the sun is out. It makes shadows fall in bright contrast across the un-vacuumed floor. I sit with my new notebook (I’ve filled the last one up) and a pencil with soft lead, and find my pulse. I watch wild turkeys run across the far meadow, and settle into the steadiness of my hand moving across the page, scrawling careless, messy script. “What chu doin mama?” Sprout asks within minutes, his face right at table height, his cheeks rosy, his bangs in his eyes.

The morning begins like this.