Monday, November 4, 2013


You look at your bewildered face in the mirror, knowing

or, maybe not knowing

you are powerless to decide the day, to

find your keys and lock the door behind you

to drive to the store for a quart of milk

I took your keys away, remember?

angry and confused you said, "damn it

so you're one of them now too, huh?"

You shook your cane at the doctor, though

I don't blame you; he talked of

your condition as if you weren't in the room, as if

old men everywhere weren't already shelved with

their curling blank pages, yellowed

and much too brittle to touch

But we exist outside the circle of drooling incognizant men

Dad, don't we?

You empty your closet,

piling all your clothes and shoes on the living room floor

and with a grandiose gesture and eyes peeled skyward

you announce in your best voice "I  am  coming  home."

You would have thought it funny how

my little boy, he tried to die once

He lay down on the sofa and shut his eyes

every twitch and flinch controlled

stiff as he could make it, but

his sweet breath kept rising and falling and rising

Mom, I can't do it

I can't be dead he said

The way you looked at me at the lake

when I was ten, hair in a long braid down my back

following a trail through gold colored beach grass, heads

tipped back and laughing, watching

the seamless flow of clouds

my hand so small in yours

Where will I be?

Where will you be

after your body turns cold

slack-jawed, tangled in the bluebird sheets I

gave you last Christmas, dentures

in a cup by the bed, your tattered green robe dangling

on a hook behind the bathroom door

Exactly what is the next grand becoming

shuffling across our blood-fired paths?


  1. You've described becoming in a way we can feel right through to our bones.

  2. I'm glad it resonates the way I'd hoped. Thanks, Kathy

  3. Oh, my Lord. You captured so perfectly the last five years with my mom, right down to the drug-induced ICU psychosis where she demanded her car keys. We laughed, later. She didn't remember it, nor the golden retriever who was living under her bed.

    And then, there's "I'm going home". She nearly accomplished it during her last hospital stay. In ICU again, she pulled off every monitor, pulled out every IV, put them neatly on her bedside table, picked up her Werther's butterscotches, and headed for home. She would have made it, too, had it not been for the catheter.

    The first two times I read this I couldn't comment. Too many tears. It's funny - after two years I thought the grief was gone. But no - just the right words can bring it back. Thanks.

  4. Oh, Linda. I am so sorry for your loss. Takes years of tears. Taking away one's mode of transportation is yanking one of the last real freedoms a person has. My dad would part the curtains and look at his car longingly, when he was no longer able to drive it. And then the suspicions when it had to be sold. So happy to share this with you, thank you.

  5. Excellent capture of the moods and moments of aging and dying.....and of course the beautiful matching pictures that are perfection. Your words take us there, your pictures take away the pain.

  6. Thank you for taking a thoughtful look. Appreciate your comments!

  7. Beautiful post. My Dad always said he was going home. He insisted on it during our last phone conversation. He passed away a week later. So I guess he was right in a way. I hope your dad is doing well. It's never easy to watch your loved ones age.

  8. He passed shortly after. I think people actually know in their hearts what will happen next, though it's hard to fully accept...