itís the little things
When wrapping presents
or mostly now just the presents for your birthday,
I always press down on the tape
with the most gentle care,
in the same way the nurses did,
when pressing tape to your sunken cheek
to keep your feeding tube in place.
I do this only with tape.
Rubber bands and safety pins have lost their meaning,
although they meant just as much
Maybe because no one really uses rubber bands
or safety pins any more,
outside of the hospital.
I only get rubber bands around junk mail
and broccoli stalks. What joy is there
in broccoli stalks?
As for safety pins, sometime as a grandparent
I will mention safety pins and your children will ask,
ďWhatís a safety pin?Ē
and I will smile and think of carbon paper.
If the memories have survived in my head,
I will also see the two safety pins in your tiny knit hat
and the rubber bands looped around them
which held the breathing tubes to your mouth.
So much technology to keep you alive.
in developing monitors, regulators, pumps and medicines;
in years of training doctors and nurses;
in building hospitals, elevators, carts, and hallways;
all dependent on
tape, rubber bands, and safety pins.
You donít know this, youíre only four,
but when I cup your face in my hand
and stroke your cheek with my thumb
Iím feeling for the tape.
I do this as often as I can
knowing in just a few years, maybe when youíre twelve,
youíll stop me because youíre embarrassed.
And then Iíll have to wait years,
until Iím old and you let me touch you
as I want to touch you
out of respect for my age
and fear for the loss of my touch,
I will cup your face in my hand
and stroke your cheek with my thumb,
and be happy that I feel