Penn Relays

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My father is searching his wrist,
patting with fingers that moments before
nervously fiddled the bedsheet’s hem.
Those of us near see in his fidget
a body reading the braille of its dying.
But all my father wants is his wristwatch,
the one with penn relays running
around the face of the clock. It would give him
some comfort to wear, not that he knows
where he is, not that he cares about time,
but he’s never not had it awake, strapped
to his wrist, not since he and his teammates
won what’s engraved on the back:
Half-Mile Relay Championship of America 1937.

Michael Collier’s most recent collection is An Individual History (2012). He teaches at the University of Maryland.
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