by Victoria Nations
Rough seas at bedtime, the faithful crew
of stuffies rush around, pulling ropes and sails.
My glass scans the horizon,
but riding the surf is too thrilling to
turn into that calm port ahead.
A huge island rises above the waves, and we cry:
It’s a gum ball! I love gum balls!
And we break into laughter, rolling around the poop deck,
jumping over the sides,
swimming out of the sheets and falling onto the floor.
Courage and Turt preside over our splashing, while
Iggy and Spike make rude noises, which break us up even more.
Count Sockula flies around and Tex stampedes;
we run around the deck with them, and Honey tries to hush us.
Minitee and Orcky are dolphining around, and suddenly
The Annoying Thing goes off, chattering at the top of his lungs,
and we are all lost, gasping for air in the sea of bedclothes.
Mom clomps upstairs, and there is a chorus of shushing.
Everyone wiggles to snuggle down and look asleep.
(Several are holding their breath, submerged under blankets)
After a kiss and a drink, Mom tells us to go to sleep.
And we smother ourselves, nodding that we will, watching
the door close. It is bedtime.
Until Minitee breaches big, his tummy breaking above the waves of pillows,
a great round gum ball bobbing there.
And we are drowning in giggles until we can’t breathe.
* This poem was published in Chronicle 2014 Prize-Winning Poems, a publication of Seminole State College