Her Patient Days

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the posting of Monday’s Poem of the Week had to be delayed until today. Mea culpa!

Her Patient Days

What was it but an act of abnegation when she

shook her head and said, her voice small enough

to slide under a locked door,

no pain no pain. She who had always

given us reassurance, though now

nothing could assured. Those were her patient days –

her body a tool she could no longer wield,

an awkwardness, a jerking here and there

when she tried. For many years

we watched her move her body

as if it were a thing she’d always easily master –

like a driver who could carry on a full conversation

with a passenger, about a book on tape

both were listening to, could take her right hand

off the wheel to raise a pointed finger in the air

for emphasis, and still, still, you’d never

lose confidence in her control of the car.

For years. But now her body

was a weight only professionals could maneuver.

We interceded when they prodded us forward

telling us how to move her, how to touch her,

and where. They, clipped and knowing

in their scrubs, and us

undone, revealed

in our clumsiness as if we wore thick

asbestos gloves. There were other things which

I had wanted to say here, other territory

to which I’d intended to travel. But now I see her

in that bed, the lights lowering for the evening, her body

an unmaneuverable mass in front of her

almost, it seems, smothering her small voice –

No pain no pain. And I wonder why

we’d even asked if she felt any. Did we think

we could help her, us with our muffled hands?

  • Benjamin S. Grossberg
This entry was posted in America, Death and Dying, Family, Health and wellness, Medicine, Poetry, Relatioships, Thoughts & Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

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