A poem, per Uncle Wooby’s request

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.


Bilateral Symmetry


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

bilateral symmetry.


 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.

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