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Poem: "Meadowbrook Nursing Home" by Alice N. Persons, from Don't Be A Stranger. © Sheltering Pines Press, 2007.
Meadowbrook Nursing Home
On our last visit, when Lucy was fifteen
And getting creaky herself,
One of the nurses said to me,
"Why don't you take the cat to Mrs. Harris' room
— poor thing lost her leg to diabetes last fall —
she's ninety, and blind, and no one comes to see her."
The door was open. I asked the tiny woman in the bed
if she would like me to bring Lucy in, and she turned her head
toward us. "Oh, yes, I want to touch her."
"I had a cat called Lily — she was so pretty, all white.
She was with me for twenty years, after my husband died too.
She slept with me every night — I loved her very much.
It's hard, in here, since I can't get around."
Lucy was settling in on the bed.
"You won't believe it, but I used to love to dance.
I was a fool for it! I even won contests.
I wish I had danced more.
It's funny, what you miss when everything.....is gone."
This last was a murmur. She'd fallen asleep.
I lifted the cat
from the bed, tiptoed out, and drove home.
I tried to do some desk work
but couldn't focus.
I went downstairs, pulled the shades,
put on Tina Turner
and cranked it up loud
and I danced.
Poem: "Psalm" by Stuart Kestenbaum, from Prayers & Run-on Sentences. © Deerbrook Editions, 2007.
The only psalm I had memorized was the 23rd
and now I find myself searching for the order
of the phrases knowing it ends with surely
goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life and I will dwell
in the house of the Lord forever only I remember
seeing a new translation from the original Hebrew
and forever wasn't forever but a long time
which is different from forever although
even a long time today would be
good enough for me even a minute entering
the House would be good enough for me,
even a hand on the door or dropping today's
newspaper on the stoop or looking in the windows
that are reflecting this morning's clouds in first light.