The Cloth of Me

Driving to the airport, we talk of yesterday:
Larry, our brother, up in his second-floor room
behind a quarantine window, revealed
between the strips of metal—

real, not some wavering digital presence
smiling and calling out to us “How are you?”
Our voices rising above the traffic noise
“We love you!! Love you!!! Keep getting better!!!”

Now we are weaving through the airport maze.
Donna swings my suitcase to the pavement,
our final smiles hidden behind our masks—
a new motif to our pattern of goodbye—

I can feel the fabric of my life stretching.
Just this past week it lay over me, a familiar blanket
like the one in my sister’s guest room
formed by the weft and warp of childhood.

On the plane, a tension
pulling me across continent and ocean,
a forward momentum so strong
I fear I will be torn in two,

Chicago’s colors bleeding and blending into Hawaii’s oceans
blue with wrinkles of sunlight, warm hues
reminding me of my husband’s hand in mine,
my daughter a cautious soft pastel, waiting,

nothing to do but pen shuttling
across the page, memories unspooling,
entwining old and new, here and there.
Feeling the currents, over and under each line

perpendicular directions of my life, crossing,
the cloth of me emerges, not quite whole
yet strengthened, I continue to write
until I land—

Cheryl Treiber-Kawaoka lives in Hawaii with her husband Gerald and daughter Grace and their dog, Kukui. Recently retired as an arts educator at University of Hawaii, she has been jogging around the neighborhood in between writing poems and walking the dog. She is very grateful to be able to Zoom with her class From Writing Circles to Poems of Gratitude and Hope.

Back to

Posted in


  1. Leslie on June 22, 2021 at 10:15 am

    Transported by this poem that stretched my heart. Much love. The blessing of family is beautiful ❤️

  2. Janice miyoshi on June 22, 2021 at 11:11 am

    Loved your poem, the image of the fabric and choice of words, beautiful!

  3. Valerie on June 23, 2021 at 12:44 am

    I also was moved by your beautiful vivid poem. Thank you

Leave a Comment