Barbara Helfgott Hyett


I Never Said, I Love You Best


I suffered beside them,
the two bears my mother
pushed to one side
of my pillow, because
they crowd the bed.
I was just wanting to
sleep between them,
I worried—who
to bring closest to my ear,
who to leave
by the headboard?  I loved
Squeaky best, the oldest
and barely still brown. So
much more did I love him.
But Reddy, carnival prize
my brother won for me,
Reddy, who was neither
soft nor pretty, how I
pitied him and dared not
hurt his feelings. I tried
to stay awake, denying
my dreams their outcome,
and longed for Squeaky.
Still, I talked to Reddy.
I love you, I told him.
Now go to sleep.
Sometimes he would,
and sometimes he
wouldn’t, since he
couldn’t really trust me.