Henry

2008

I kept you

when everyone else had put away their childhood friend,

and even my younger sisters

slept alone,

but you stayed on my bed

through every age –

the day my kitty died,

the year I wore only black and pierced my own lip,

the nights I cried for boys I’d thought I loved.

Everything changed, but you.

You stayed through high school and college

and moving in with a man

who I left

and moving out again.

It was that winter that I lost you,

somewhere in between homes.

Months passed that I cried every day,

despairing over thoughts of you

in a dumpster or on the street.

Then one day

a friend came by

and thrust a pillowcase with a small bulge into my arms.

I unwrapped this thing

with no sliver of hope that the bulge could be you,

but there you were,

your head bandaged like a wounded soldier

to contain the old, clotted, cotton stuffing

that is you.

I smelled that smell

that even months under snow could not undo

and I cried into you

once again.

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3 thoughts on “Henry

  1. Aw… Such a sweet story. I still keep my stuffed seal “snowy” that I got from SeaWorld as a kid. Snowy sits over top my desk, and this poem reminded me of the little guy.

    Looking at him… I think I need to wash him… he’s gotten dusty…

    This makes me want to try poetry! Now if only I knew how…

    Oh, err… Just to verify, the “you” referred to in this story is a stuffed animal or something akin to that, correct? I mean I’m pretty sure it is, but I’m am the world’s leading expert at misinterpreting and misunderstanding anything and everything.

    • Ha! Yes, you interpreted correctly. I see you’re as sentimental as I am!
      You should try poetry. If you read it, which you clearly do (thank you), then you have just as much right to try writing as anyone who has taken a class. I did take a class in college, but I learned infinitely more from reading and writing on my own.

  2. Now I left an old toy dog on wheels called ‘Henessey’ in the large house we moved from to a smaller house – we had to leave a lot behind. I was eleven. I had to return to the house and retrieve Henessey, even though he had lost his wheels. But the move coincided with me getting more serious about growing up: Henessey stood in the corner, his straw stuffing starting to come out. Eventually we threw him away quite unsentimentally. But I am still glad I went back for him, it was one of my first lessons about how to care.

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