“The Old Green Recliner” by Lily Karpman

Lily Karpman (age 13)


I miss the old green recliner
The smell of fried chicken as I opened the door to my dad’s car
The sound of him cooking in the kitchen
Waiting to ask him something until after he mowed the lawn
Throwing a football with him in the backyard
I miss how cool I thought he was when he worked at Wegmans
Going on hikes as a family
Having him chase me and my brother around the house
Him coming upstairs at night to tuck me in
Cooking a meal for him and my mom to have a date night
I don’t like our new recliner
That helps my dad stand up
So he can get in his wheelchair
And drive himself around the ground floor
Waiting for my mom to help him back in the chair
I don’t like our new van
That’s wheelchair accessible
So my dad can drive down our ramp sidewalk
And ride in his wheelchair to my soccer games
Which are the only times he gets out of the house
I wish it wasn’t like this
That my mom wasn’t so stressed
Because she has to help him
Which takes up so much time
That she has to work late into the night
I wish I didn’t have to think about it
But every time I go into our living room
He’s in the recliner
With the wheelchair across from him
Watching TV
And he isn’t walking around the kitchen cooking like he used to
He isn’t picking us up after school with a big box of Royal Farms for us to eat when we get home
He doesn’t mow the lawn anymore
He isn’t throwing a long ball to me in the backyard
Because he can’t
We don’t still hike as a family
We don’t still cook for our parents’ date night in the backyard
We don’t still wait for dad to give us a good night kiss after mom tucks us in
And we don’t still have our old green recliner

from 2023 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Lily Karpman: “I am not a person who verbally expresses their feelings a lot but through poetry I can express exactly how I feel. It is much easier to give the pure feeling through poetry instead of verbally because poetry can be anything. Graceful or sharp, sweet or bitter, the words of every line in every stanza can perfectly express a feeling. So that is why I like writing poetry: it helps me express a feeling at its purest form.”

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