Monday, June 29, 2009

visits and visitations

The old, not so very dangerous

You do not have to have a plan
By itself, my body breaks into a smile

pooled in the hall--
(these things are not important)
(describing these lets them take on a false importance, do you see?)
greeted by the stink
of forgetfulness, unbound bodily urges
the breaths-upon-awakening
exhalations of spent stems
from flowers too long in vases
crazy laughter from the boy without a bladder
Theresa, on hearing herself groan
feels less alone

coiffures and nail polish, lipstick and earrings
on the propped-up old, waiting
feather-light in carriage wheel-chairs
for family to come and take them home

“Listen, dear, I don’t live far. Can’t you give me a ride?
I’ve been waiting here for such a long time.”

Earl, I love him
his face turns red
when I read to him
he cries

Leila, lovely in pale pink
and a little straw hat

back to pre-speech
variations in tone and timbre
a flute and a hum
innocence returned to her

rising inflections on the way to a question, “oh are they...”
parts of statements left hanging, “yes, that’s a...”
an opinion stated, while smiling into a smiling face, “no ”

common, farmer stock
pale, lipless, cave of her mouth--

does battle for her perceptions
bursting right through her confusion
to make a statement, any statement

a definite conclusion drawn from an imagined occurrence--
“I got them to give me a beer”

there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her
though it frightens them when she talks of things that never happened.

“I’m ok, I guess. Only I have to waste my time, come here and sit all day, you know, when I have small children at home, the youngest only, what is he, six by now I guess.”

no crying
around the lunch tables we tell jokes
short ones so
we still remember the beginning when we get to the punch line
Estelle, hooked to an oxygen tank
chortles into her coffee (she’s hoarding two green cups at once)
“I’d give anything for a highball”
(make that a 7-high, if you would)

motions an arthritic claw towards her plate
I pick up a fork and feed her
She thanks me, unaware
we’re saving each others lives

1 comment:

farmlady said...

This is beyond touching and too close to home for me right now.