We decide to take a break from the eating, drinking,
and arguing — our traditional holiday pastimes —
to walk around the ice-encased neighborhood.
In the hallway, we sort through the piles of coats,
hats, and gloves, pulling out what we think we need,
and when I get to the door my father calls me back
to drape a scarf around my neck. In my forties,
I don’t like scarves anymore than when I was six,
but, now, having kids, I recognize what his fingers
are trying to say as they adjust the wool, and, I hope,
he recognizes what I’m trying to say by not moving.
It’s not much, but since neither of us needs anything
the other can buy, we try to exchange what we can,
a protective touch and a willingness to be touched.
"A Winter Dialogue" by Joseph Robert Mills, from Sending Christmas Cards to Huck and Hamlet. © Press 53, 2012.
Photography credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer, found at this link (originally color).