This one was written a few weeks ago, and inspired by the same subject matter as my previous post. My apologies for the odd spacing, but alas, I am quite technologically-imparied and can’t figure out how to fix it.
Next to my father, I rested my head down
into the warmth of the muted winter sunlight
one afternoon as he slept, nearer
and nearer to death.
Beneath the pillow we shared
I felt the tiny vibrations
of the BBC news pumping
through the disc-shaped pillow-speaker
he always slept with.
He used this tiny speaker
tuned to NPR, low volume,
to keep his mind occupied
enough to fall asleep.
I reached under the pillow
and held the speaker in my palm,
a sand dollar made of plastic,
with holes meant to spread the sound
in place of the ocean creature’s
I pushed the volume dial to the left,
its ridges under my fingertip like a dime,
then put my hand in Dad’s.
I waited for him to squeeze back
or open his eyes and smile at me
or breath differently. To notice me
next to him. His pillow-speaker still sits,
unused for eight years,
on my mother’s bedside table.
A dried up, make-believe sea animal.
This afternoon, with the bills and coupons,
my own pillow speaker arrived in the mail.
Peeling away the packaging, I palmed it
with both hands. A much smaller, much
smoother sort of sand dollar,
mine comes with its own
noble-looking blue velvet case. Tonight,
it sets my mind to quiet,
enough that I might fall asleep.