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Zoe in the Wee Hours
Steven Givler

When Zoe wakes
Her four-year-old's slumber 
Interrupted by dream or noise
I hear her rise and cast aside her blankets
She makes her way to our room
Where Mommy's rhythmic breathing
And Daddy's wakefulness
Prove more reassuring
Than the fiber-filled bunny
She has carried all her life
It is always three or three-thirty
Some awful hour
When morning is still night
And I am loathe to waken
The only thing worse
Would be that she would not need me
So I am quick to rise
Quick to comfort
I tuck her back into bed
I smooth her furrowed brow
My father's duties done with gladness
Laid up against a time
Coming all too soon
When she will not waken
Or wakening, will not call
Or calling, call another man

© by Steven Givler.
Used with the author's permission.


Steven Givler is an artist, writer, and language specialist. He lives in Germany and Italy, and he has also made his home in Greece, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Portugal. Steven's book for children, The Ravens Build the Softest Nest, illustrated with his own watercolor paintings, is awaiting publication, and two of his short stories appear in the anthology, Operation Homecoming, from Random House. Learn more about Steven and see his paintings at


Post New Comment:
Sweet, sad, and so well presented. You have touched one of the essential truths of parenthood, and of life. How terrible it is to lose the one who needed you like that.... Thank you for this poem.
Posted 12/04/2014 07:46 PM
a poem well written, and amazingly expressive of my own experience. Thanks for reminding me.
Posted 12/04/2014 10:30 AM
Wilda Morris:
This poem is right on the mark in terms of content - and well-constructed as a poem. Thank you!
Posted 12/04/2014 09:04 AM
I love the details of this and especially the fine strong ending.
Posted 12/04/2014 08:54 AM
Janet Leahy:
Love the phrase—"a father's duties done with gladness." A gentle poem, thank you Steven.
Posted 12/04/2014 08:20 AM

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