Tate Lewis

My Father’s Needlepointed Santa Lumbar Pillow

Deft fingers pierced the needle with its trail of thread in,
through, and back around, leaving nothing unpunctured:

the white puff on the stocking hat, the aging eyebrows,
the black dots of pupils, nostrils, and buttons running the length

of the red velvet suit; and even though my father jabbed at
and smashed the pillow down towards his ass while driving,

suppressing its incessant creep up his spine and cloth seat,
pinning it again and again against the source of the pain,

Santa still grinned and lugged around that oversized,
contorted sack filled with teddy bears,

rocking horses decorated in baby blue bows,
skateboards, rattling beads, and loosening stitches

while raccoons and squirrels ducked to avoid his black boots
and the crow and owl on either shoulder craned their heads away.

At the exact moment of his death, when the weight of his body lifted,
he must have understood its relief: finally and gently decompressing.

© Tate Lewis

Tate Lewis recently graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University and lives in Bloomington, Il with his fiancé and six pets in an almost flipped house. He is an assistant editor for Kallisto Gaia Press and recipient of the Dalkey Archive Press Fellowship. His poetry can be found in December magazine, Modern Haiku, The American Journal of Poetry, The Thieving Magpie, Better than Starbucks, The Ekphrastic Review, and more.

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