Saturday, September 6, 2008


and you are beginning to forget things.
You call Mom at work, "Where are you?"
She says you always had selective memory, and hearing.
I think this is different.

The financial cement of our family, you still hold us up.
I got a check in the mail with a note: "Doll, we love you."

Light catches the bridge of your porous nose
long gray hairs growing from the outside, the inside.

Purple veins, age spots are on the tops of your hands.
Deep wrinkles are in your loose flesh, but
your eyes are still the same, bright and brown,

and as long as you've lived,
you are still the worrier
the provider, the man of the house

caught between fixing the TV and
sleeping in the LaZBoy

still telling the same jokes,
that still make me giggle:
"Does my hair look pretty?"

I put sunscreen on your bald head,
rub your sore gout-puffy feet.

You get lost, driving in circles,
not remembering where you were 5 minutes ago,
drunken-walk (but you don't drink).


I can't help but think of the bedpan,
you losing lots of weight, like Uncle Brer,
how you might not remember me (the caregiver).

Now, you argue when you forget things
get angry when you can't stand up as quickly,
knees locking:
"Damn, I can't even get up off the floor anymore."

These are the consequences of aging.
You are still here at 70, despite 3 heart attacks.

I'm not ready to trade places.


Scot said...

many are going through this--good poem

holly said...

yes, Scot...yes...I have a lot of friends and family going through this sort of thing...

Julie said...

Holly, this is such a beautiful portrait of a man. That last line is a powerful punch. I also like the title as a number and the way the poem begins. Society so often gives us a "number" that defines who we are, and that is a very strong reminder. Yes, many people can relate to this. You also individualize it so we have a vivid image of who he was and is. I love it!

holly said...

Thank you Julie. Good to have you "back" :)