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The next time it’s her cuddle hour—
somewhere between 7:00 and 8:00—
when she pulls her herself onto your lap
with her fresh-from-bath hair,
brush in hand,
you’ll notice the soft soap scent
as you work through snarls;
the limp, fine strands
as they slip through fingers;
the mahogany of the waves
that you weave into braids.

The next time she asks for leg tickles—
lifts her nightgown a few inches
to display her ruffle-framed calves—
you’ll set aside your phone,
and ideas still steaming from work,
and notice the softness of her leg hair
as it stands with each shiver—
the way she slows down,
settles into your arms.

The next time she asks for back scratches—
pushes her PJs down off her shoulders—
you’ll stop your cleaning,
set the dishes aside and dry your hands.
you’ll run your nails up and down her spine,
notice the rise and fall of her ribs.
you’ll appreciate the way her tiny fingers
lace into those of your free hand;
the way she tips her head up toward your face,
eyes glazed with love.

Heather M. F. Lyke is a writer living in southern Minnesota. By day, she teaches students Creative Writing and American Literature. On evenings and weekends, she creates. She builds things out of nothing: sometimes with paint, occasionally with fabric, but most often with words. To read more of her writing, or to connect with her, visit

© 2020, Heather M. F. Lyke

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