This poem first appeared in Potato Eaters, published by Finishing Line Press in 2008.


On the nights she went out
to PTA meetings and Tupperware parties,
my mother would leave
a pressed ruby imprint of lips
on a square of toilet paper.
Pirating treasure-kisses
left on the counter,
by the time I was fourteen,
I had hundreds saved
in her crimson pump shoe-box
under my bed. Weighed down slightly
by a perfume bottle, those kisses
were left for me to find,
until I grew out of snug, cotton dresses.
Now, my best moments recreate
those toilet-tissue touches,
those sanguine emblems,
of beauty, and generosity,
those most sacred tokens
of any world.

mom and amy

One Reply to “Tissue”

  1. Dear Amy,
    I served with your mom on the Sandy Hook PTA for many years and also sang with her in the Newtown Choral Society. We also played bridge once a week together along with Daphney and Peg. She was one of those people that “leave foot prints on your heart”. I remember her most for her quilts, her laugh and the cinnamon she used to put in our coffee. Every year for 25 years Peg and I have tried to go to lunch in October on the anniversary of her death (or as close to it as we can get) and toast her memory.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

    Mary Lou Kelly

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