Tucked in at night by her husband, her four kids, and the Wasatch Mountains, Emily Bailey runs A Homeschool Unscripted. Her work is to hold the space for childhood, and be the homeschool mentor she never had.

On Guard

At night I put on my armor.

Eyes open. Ears sharp. Muscles taught.

Awake that you may sleep.

I’ve been alert all day, protecting you

from demons


a different sort.

My loyalty

is fierce enough

to bat away the sleep

that yawns at me.

But deprivation

takes its toll

on the body and the mind.

The spirit

is not


by fleshy need

and mortal care.

The outside battle mirrors

the one within.

Can I relieve myself

of duty?


Can I find a way

to care for myself

and you

at the same time?

I try and fail,

by my own standard, anyway.

Can I trust

you can stand


long enough

for me to breathe

and remember the hedgerows

at their peak

in the green summertime

so far from here?

That’s a lie.

A story someone else has told.

I’ve never seen them,

so there is no memory

to dust off

and recall.

But I own a few

seeds that I pocketed

long ago,

before you were a whisper

on the wind.

The Daffodils in

that soaking April…

the gnarled old tree

I claimed,

I sat in,

longing for home

and discovering it

all at once.

My two minutes of solitude,

head ducked against the rain,

feet treading on tired cobblestone

as strong as it ever was.

It was a taste

that awoke

a lifetime of hunger.

I yearned most of all

for you, my love.

I must remember that.

Why do I forget the most

when I look at you?

What threat was I imagining

I spotted on the horizon

when you lost the roundness

of your cheeks?

What should my homeschool look like?

Dragon Slaying