Sunday, April 15, 2012

"April is the cruellest month" T.S.Eliot

The Watch

She's unable to move her own limbs,
so I lift, shift, hold her wasted 
body and ease her onto her back,
watching her face for the crumblings 
that mean pain. Her whispers don’t tell me
where she hurts or what she needs.
So I make my guess and take a deep breath- 
take her ninety pounds in my arms.

Together we journey to and from the commode. 
I empty the pot and yes, it smells- 
yes, but doing this task is instinctive, 
swiftly accomplished, and never repellent. 
I didn’t know how it would be. None of us do.

I sigh each time we manage 
the hoist to her high queen-size bed.
The sheets and pillows, her hair, face
and delicate, cold hands are all shades 
of wintery white, but there is color-
brown spots, pale yellow bruises, 
and purple stains on her skin. 
I try-I always try-to handle her 
with patience and reassurance.

We are Irish enough that the Banshee 
has come to sing from the hallway 
but I growl and chase the bitch away.
Some months ago my life collapsed
and I tumbled here to this bedside.
I'm the one, the only other woman
in this house, allowed to stand guard,
to share these difficult intimacies, 
to keep this watch. I want to do it well.


david coyote said...

Dear Cuz,

Touching all hearts who experience true love and then,
unable to alter its course, lose the loved one to age or illness -
lose but never lost.

We've walked the same walk ... thank you for sharing such

From my heart to yours,


Karen said...

Beautiful and tragic, truth that it is..

Your cousin David's words too...

It runs in the family? this gift.

Mary Harwell Sayler said...

And, yes, you do very well. Blessings.