curling their knees to their chests,
arms around their knees,
with their soft wet mouths pressed
against his side in the darkness.
He liked to cradle them that way,
he could love them easily then,
softly laying an arm over their cool shoulders,
tenderly so they wouldn't wake up.
In his mind they were the children he'd never had
and never would have, but better:
he never had to demand, for they gave.