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Unterberg Poetry Center

Besides a morning coffee offering
you rarely touched my father.
Agile hands preferred the feel
of Pilgrim quilts hung primly on a wall,
a love pulled through a needle’s eye.
Every existence can be quantified.
Yours, a spool of tightly wound thread.
Mine? a life measured in mileage.
Once I chased a loving sun,
no shade or shirt on my back,
her rays as close as any embrace.
Still, I left this world untouched.
A pillow with perfect cross stitches
beside my urn offer words of condolence:
No wind is too cold for lovers.
Oh mother, I beg to differ. Invisible
hearts cry out in protest, naming names
as you drift off to the nightly news--
a church bake sale, two house fires
and three water main breaks barely
make a splash. Over time, cups of
fevered tea soothe overtime joints,
repetition in motion and emotion
to forget an original need.
I say: better to squeeze a cactus
than leave a world untouched.

Tracy Tong is a librarian at Xavier High School. Her favorite Dewey Decimal numbers are 811 and 808.8.