Shaking Half-Beliefs

Today I worried you
stopped breathing so checked
hand on chest to test my anxious
nature, and you lifted it, slightly,
meaning yes I’m alive and
yes I’m sleeping and
yes, goddammit, I will wake
when I please, all of it dotted

clear as brail in beards
of Santa Claus pajamas
which zip haphazardly from the calf
which I picked specially from the shelf
marked 3 months
holding them to the light half-
believing you won’t be

this big, half-believing the time
it’s taken to write this means
you might be dead,
but now I push past half-
beliefs to something true
as table wood red-lacquered to shine
in lamp light, as my wife’s shape
and soft step, questioning pause
in the hallway, as eyes
asking if our child’s alive

and I shake my head yes
and she shakes her hips yes.

By Joe Betz