I listen to her breath as she sleeps
curled against me.
I crack apart my sternum so she
can crawl inside the safety of my chest.
Here, she rests soundly,
body limp in trusting
that there is no evil here
no harm will come.
I am a statue standing still,
a guard armed with bow and arrow to ensure her passage,
and when the time comes,
I, too, fall asleep beside her.
Lynne Schmidt is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the winner of the 2020 New Women’s Voices Contest, a 2021 Pushcart Nominee, and author of the chapbooks, Dead Dog Poems (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press), Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press) which was listed as one of the 17 Best Breakup Books to Read in 2020, and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. In 2012 she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.