March 16, 2020

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by Debbie Wilkinson

“Will you tuck me in?”

Years ago picking through stones
worn down in the nestling sand,
I showed you how to slip them smooth across the rustling water,
while waves shimmered into sleep.
We stopped to watch the circling hawk
coaxed to the spire of the unclothed tree,
the butterflies flickering a melody in the wild lavender.
Then plucked the wild blackberry brambles,
a rush of fingers from branch to mouth.
“Save some for the pail.”
Your lips stained magenta,
crooked smile and thumbs up.
Not a care in the world.

I smoothe your hair, the brown strands
skip across your forehead,
unfurrowed adolescent trust.

Shelter now into sleep.
I can’t keep safe all that I would try.
The bread moulders in the cupboard.

Debbie Wilkinson explores the themes of love, hope, and resilience in the face of despair and discouragement. Her work includes fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, songs, sermons, case notes, school excuses, and grocery lists.

City of Asylum believes that All Pittsburghers are Poets. With the Poem of the Week series, we seek to increase the readership and appreciation of poetry locally by publishing poems written by residents of Allegheny County of all ages and levels of experience. In partnership with the Poetry Editors at Sampsonia Way Magazine, City of Asylum advances our mission to defend, celebrate, and build on creative freedom of expression. This project received a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).

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