Why I Always Carry Tissues (2008 – the poem I love the best)

To My Children:

I’m laughing at myself,
As I am prone to do because
Why I Always Carry Tissues
Is the title of a poem
I write for you.

There is a story here,
Of parenting, and responsibilties
That transcends yourself, defines me,
Vis-a-vis you,
then and there, and maybe now.

When you were small,
I took you by the hand,
The cement canyons, trails & rivers
of West Eighty Six Street,
Together, we would ford.

Periodically, as Fathers are prone to do,
Your hand, from my hand,
I would release
So you could fall down,
All on your own.

It bemused me that I could see
Three or four paces ahead of thee
Exactly which crack,
Upon which you would trip,
And come crying back to me.

Back-to-me.
That was then.
And now,
Yes, no more,
Back-to-me.

But I always had tissues
to dry your eyes
And no surprise,
I still do,
Always will.

These days, they,
more likely used to dry mine,
As I have forded that Styxy river,
When crossed, you spend more of the day,
Liking Back more,
Then looking ahead.

No matter, by right and tradition,
It is still my mission, that
when you need, when you bleed,
as I know you surely shall,
These pocket tissues will be there
Ready, willing and able, fully capable,
of snatching away your tears.

When you need,
When you bleed,
And you surely shall,
These pockets of mine,
Of tissue made,
Are waiting for your tears,
And you, to fill them,
For without them,
Their raison d’etre is unfulfilled.

These used tissues are my history book,
Re the art of loving, and the arch-i-texture of life,
Of tears and hearts,
And concrete spills,
That need knees to be complete.

That is why you will find me, without fail,
Ready, willing and able, holding my
White Badge of Courage at the ready,
Waiting patiently, for my mission to be redeemed,
Missions known as parenting schemes.

The scheme is clear, even if
my tissues you no longer request,
You will let your own babies
fall n’ fail, then take their tears
Put them in your pocket,
keep them forever wet,
Like my memories of you
the ones I cherish best…

Perhaps a tradition
We will start,
Unsightly bulges in our pocket rear,
Where we will store our packet of saver-saviors
Removers of our dear one’s fears.

If we are truly wise
Those tissued memories
We will keep,
Die among them contented,
Knee-scraped deep
When tears fall…

©Nat Lipstadt 2008

 

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