I wonder
who has the tapes you recorded
family, passing time?
If I had
those cassettes,
I would pop them
into my worn tape player
to remind me
the sound of your voice.
I can’t hear it anymore.
The years have dimmed words’ timbre,
dulled razor-edged resonance — they tumble end over end
down the long lighted tunnel
you took to go home.
No. I can’t hear your voice. But, I feel
your arms hugging me, the thump-thumping in your chest.
I carry deep breaths of peace
inside, remembering
songs and
giggles as you taught small fingers to shell peas,
shuck corn, fold sheets and
tuck corners, find middle C, pluck
out Disney show tunes, and read ever more confidently
from St. James and Greek mythology, to
shape patty pan balls of dough . . .
they rise, fall, and hands must shape them again.
I needed you to shape me still.
I was fired, unleavened,
and now I search
the keys
to unlock what you treasured in me.

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