Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Visit; Jason Shinder

My only mother, who lost sixty pounds, tried to stand up in the bathroom

and fell backwards on the white linoleum floor in the first hour of the morning
and was carried to the bed in the nurse's arms and then abruptly

opened her eyes, later, the room dark, and twisted the needles in her arms

and talked to her dead friend, Rosie, and heard the doorbell ring
as though in the kitchen in the old place deciding if she should answer,

rubbing the circle on her finger where the wedding ring once was

while slipping downward on the sheets like a body without limbs and I slid
my good arms beneath her arm-pits and pulled her bony body up

against the two thin pillows. And then, when she was asleep again,

I walked down the hallway's arc of yellow light, ghosts hovering
on either side of the doors of rooms where the strange sickness

of being alive was the last thing between dreaming and eternity

which closes like the ocean closes over the blue-starry body
and does not stop, and I understood again that we never come back,

and upright, with everything that takes its life seriously, I returned to my mother.

Found on, link in title above. We visited with a friend today. Her husband is declining slowly but steadily, suffering with a variety of debilitating chronic illnesses. I remember him when he was hale and strong and gruff and funny and protective and solicitous of her. That man is waning before her very eyes. She has the resources to have the best care for him but there has been no one there to watch over her. Who cares for the caretaker? I'm sure this isn't how she'd hoped to spend their twilight years.

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