At the kitchen table with my parents,

drinking coffee and looking out the window,

watching birds and morning sun on water,

Dad at one end in his pocket T-shirt,

Mom to the side still in her pink night dress,

We discuss the weather, nice for December.

Mom’s made me her take on French toast

after choosing yoghurt for herself;

Dad has a cigarette in lieu of food.

It’s a scene we’ve acted many times before,

its poignancy increasing as we age.

Last night, we watched a TV program

about the influence of Sherlock Holmes

on the development of forensic science;

Locard’s principle of exchange

says that with any objects making contact,

each of them leaves traces where it touches.

In me, my parents’ residue has seeded

a tolerance for difference even wider

than they could have intended, even imagined,

but what dust from me on them has settled?


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper