Rock a Bye Baby by Elizabeth Beck

On the way home
From our son’s graduation
Everything we took for granted was lost
25 years of expectations and sure, entitlement
Changed with one small defect in the asphalt
That gathered rain a little too hungrily and kept it a little too selfishly
The overcast day and the way the
Slope hid it
The tire hit it
And we spun
Look at us now
My beautiful wife only growing in grace
As the years marched on in their inevitable pace
I see how the scars will be written on your face
You hold my hand tight
So tight
I can’t tell where my arm ends and yours begins
The blessed numbness before the pain settles in
I know you won’t blame me for the damage that’s been done
As surely as I know it is blood obscuring my vision
Giving everything a never-happened feeling
We still seem to be falling
But that can’t be right
No – we are upended
And harnessed, still suspended
I don’t think you can speak,
but I see your trust
That I will get us out of this mess
As I have so many times in our past
Through late-night health scares with the children
Through the accusations and the recriminations
We threw against each other in our lesser times
The gut-stabbing silence that reigned in our household
When we both were unfaithful
The beauty of forgiveness and reconciliation
and the forever of our promised tomorrows
So I unleash myself to the glass strewn ruin of the roof
Manage to force open the door and try not to be sick
Inanely worried about the wreck of a new suit
I hold up my shaky hand, reassuring
I will be the savior you need
Your door, crushed, embracing your bones with its own
On this muddy embankment
And as my senses come rushing back
I recognize the smell of open-fumed gas
I know the exact instant when you recognize it too
Your frenzy rocks the car back and forth
I call for you to stop
You are scraping against the rocks
But you don’t listen
You never have
Not one single moment in all these years
It’s everything I know about you, dear
I struggle back to the highway and try to clear the blood from my eyes
Looking for a place just right
To…accept this opportunity
Far enough away to properly enjoy the show
Close enough for plausible deniability


Elizabeth Beck once wrote a love letter in invisible ink, not realizing that basic oxidation would reveal the “secret message” between the lines.  These days the only love letters she writes are to coffeehouse patrons and the sea.  Her poetry and short stories have been featured at WRIST Magazine, Underneath the Juniper Tree, Tacoma’s Art and History Museums, Little River Lit Mag, and the Laureate Listening Project.  Find out how much she adores you at