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  • Jennifer Torres Alcántara

Passages: Foster Care Nights

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

I am a sentinel

of the night.

Guarding against

past horrors

and present fears

that only come out

in the dark.

The nights

are always the hardest.

Hours stretching like

the shadows,

cast along

every wall.

Relentlessly ticking on

with morning refusing to come.

Me laying next to their bed,

stroking their hair,

singing away the pain of

separation from their family,

from everything they’ve ever known,

and loved.

Carpet fibers my bed,

Stuffed animals my hasty pillow,

all to hold a soft brown hand

and heart.

The trauma always

comes out at night,

lurking in the dark,

like a cockroach.

Crawling around uninvited,

from the darkest corners

of their minds.

I stand guard,

Whispering “tu estas segura”,

when the tears come

and the shaking starts.

I wish I could make it

all go away,

and bring the sweet blessing

of sleep to their lives,

as well as,

a home.

by Jennifer Torres Alcántara

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