June 17, 1994|By Diane Jacobs

A phone call in the night

Shakes the silence

Like an avalanche of fear.

The peace breaks


And I am frozen for a moment:

Mind ablaze, but legs of stone.

My heart ahead of me --

I need to move,

To make an answer to the sad, red siren that I see

Relentlessly racing out of my sight

When a phone call comes in the middle of the night.

. . . It was not always so.

The nightmares that I used to know were washed away by lullabies

And soothed by Daddy's tender eyes.

The alligators by the bed, my Daddy filled with a sense of dread.

One glance from Daddy, they were dead,

Or so I thought.

For so he said.

And there was time, so long and deep

To read and rhyme and rock to sleep.

Once upon a time ago

When Daddy made the darkness glow . . .

My husband turns in bed and fumbles for the phone.

Breathless, I: "Is it Dad?"

And the reprieve: "Only a wrong number."

And the hand in mine: "Everything's fine . . . Go back to sleep."

But sleep comes slowly, by and by

A turn away from dawn,

The stillness echoes, like a cry,

My dark intruder is not gone --

A phone call in the night

Rearranges the landscape of the future in a cavern deep,

Replays the past

And leaves me in the present



More fragile in the song I sing

( To rock myself to sleep.

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