My father rummaged through closets,
looking for a box of Kleenex. Why not
Kleenex in this house with your cold.
I didn’t feel sick, but my nose was running.
I wiped it on my sleeve. It didn’t bother me.
I was a scrappy kid, bandaged knees,
a ponytail losing its rubber band.
My mother had gone out, taking the other kids.
You need handkerchiefs, he said, pulling open
my dresser drawer. He took out my white
Hopalong Cassidy shirt, which he tore apart,
handing me cotton squares. I felt protective
of him, as if he were a small sweet cousin.
No need to tell him it was my favorite shirt.