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Plaid Blanket, a poem by Tawn Parent

The Plaid Blanket

I cover my son with the fuzzy plaid blanket 

I bought spontaneously on Christmas Eve, 

spying it out of the edge of my eye

at the grocery checkout, of all places.

Something bright 

to break up the chilly whiteness of the hospital bed

and offer a scrap of hominess

in the stern, ringing room.

The fleece provides warmth 

that the thin, sterile hospital blankets can’t match,

no matter how many you pile on.

At home the plaid blanket

lives in a shopping bag,

packed and ready

for when fever sends us running to the ER.

Then I lift the folded softness from the brown bag 

and stretch it across the foot of Eli’s bed 

in the children’s cancer ward

to claim this rolling metal island as our own.

When the blanket becomes soiled,

I hurry to the hospital laundry,

scrawl his room number in marker

on the hard lid of the washer.

Inside, the blanket 

has a heyday,

sharing its colorful fluff

with all its neighbors

as they churn together in the sudsy water.

Pants, shirts, and socks emerge 

covered in red, green, and white fuzz,

small bits of comfort

clinging to Eli’s clothes

like homespun snow.



Tawn Parent is a native and resident of Indianapolis. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Tipton Poetry JournalHome Planet News Online, Anti-Heroin Chic, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, and Nzuri. The Wrong Place, a collection of poetry and essays about her young son’s cancer journey, will be published next year.