When They Lay Down

by Wesley McNair

They didn’t close their eyes when they lay down
As if getting ready for a long night’s sleep.
My old, truant father rose for work hung over.
My mother gardened in the dark with a headlamp.

As if getting ready for a long night’s sleep,
My stepfather lay under his jacked-up car.
My mother gardened in the dark with a headlamp.
At the end, my parents were so tired.

My stepfather lay under his jacked-up car
When it suddenly gave way and came down on him.
At the end, my parents were so tired.
Some days, my father forgot his socks.

Then it all gave way and came down on him.
On his knees in my dream, my father tries to speak.
Some days, he even forgot his socks.
My mother couldn’t feel her whole left side.

On his knees in my dream, my father tries to speak.
He rose for work every day hung over.
My mother couldn’t feel her whole left side.
They didn’t close their eyes when they lay down.