artwork: ralph murre
by Wilda W. Morris
Beginning with a line and a half from Li-Young Lee*
I was cold once. So my father took off his blue sweater.
He wrapped me in it.
I slid my short arms into the long sleeves.
Father leaned down and buttoned each button.
I was five years old
and the sweater had five buttons.
“Carry me,” I begged. “I’m tired.” Father picked me up.
As my arms flew around his neck, the sleeves flapped like blue wings.
Now I was warm
but Father was cold.
He carried me seven blocks and was worn out
when he climbed the steps to our door.
This is how I remember it.
But when I was five I was never wrapped
in a warm sweater with buttons down the front.
And I had no father.
~ first published in After Hours