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By Tara McCarty

Jaxon has a blue metal train that he loves to hold as he falls asleep.

It has magnets on both ends , and when you push a button on the back, the train car lights up inside.

He shows me the train in the dark while I rock him, and he pushes the cold metal of the magnets onto my lips for a kiss.

I can feel him smiling underneath my cheek.

He pulls the poles of me apart, this boy.

He is all my joy, and all my worry.

All my heart.

He presses the button and the little passenger man inside glows orange

Jaxon’s face lights up briefly in the dark like a rising moon

The glowing passenger in the little boxcar holds on to the bar above him, gripping tight to the moment as the train whirls down the railroad of Jaxon’s imagination.

The little lit-up man is holding on, inside his train.

He is trying to slow things down

Pull back on the tracks

But he is powerless to do so.

He is, like me, just a passenger here.

The train starts to fall as Jaxon’s body sighs the engine closed into sleep

I carefully move him to the the curve of my arm, where he fits, heavy and perfect.

My chest is damp where he lay, and the air of Time is sudden and cold upon my chest

I pull the blankets tighter around us.

I hold him, he holds his blue train

and -

we all hold on.


Tara McCarty is a family doctor who works in Montreal and teaches at the McGill University Faculty of Medicine. She is a mom of two little cherubs who are currently 3 and 5 years old.

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