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Tag: caregiver poems

The Waiting Room

What happened to the fish
I ask the receptionist

The plastic seaweed was toxic
She replies with a shrug

So we sit and wait watching
A string of jeweled bubbles rise

To the surface
In the otherwise empty tank

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A Cascading, it is

to watch his memory falter,
               fail. Light fades and falls. Dark
to watch his memory falter –
                             Cans of beans: gone. Toothpaste.
                             A shoe, bills, a sister –
to watch his memory falter,
fail. Light fades, and falls dark.

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EKG

We’re together in the kitchen when you say
you talked to your new doctor,
the one who ordered up an EKG
because he said he’d heard a skip, a stutter.

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In the Regression of Aging Bodies

There are buttons he can’t slip in notches
And zippers he forgets to zip
There are broccoli stalks that need slicing
And urine stains scoured from floors
There are socks that need feet
And shoes that need their socks

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Dying Is Ugly

Bang my shins, my temple on the gritty wall
Of Charlie’s deathbed
Where we do not wrest the truth
But beg him Let us change the (piss-stenched) sheets.
He will not go for tests, insists, denial overarching

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Making Her Night

In Central Park twilight,

we drop our holiday mood
like a heavy sweater in the heat
when that call sends us reeling
as leukemia sucks us
into its bell jar, rings
our ears, jangles
minds, reverberates
into bone.

We can’t lower that volume
but distraction is at hand–
tickets to Porgy and Bess
though I forget it begins
with a knife

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Carpe Diem

Johanna Shapiro ~

After my husband’s ocular stroke,
we wondered about the risk of a “real one.”
“Significantly increased,”
said the busy physician.
“What can we do?”
“Take a baby aspirin–
and live life to the fullest.”
We took this prescription to the pharmacist,
who gave us the aspirin
but added, “You’re on your own for the rest.”

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What They Don’t Tell You


Meg Lindsay ~

After 10 days in a hospital
you regain the ability
to walk albeit with a cane so I put the commode
out in the hall as you are laughing a bit more,
the gleam back, but the chemo starts
and the next morning again pain
in your ribs and sternum
and now it burns
in your chest and again you
can’t

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Where She Will Be

Francie Camper ~

City snow blankets my little mother in her hospital
bed in her bedroom, no wonder she is confused,
pointing to things in the air, on the ceiling that only
she can see. She might be hailing a cab. She raises
her head to tell me, Four members of the Isenberg
family came to visit and one was Mima Ettel,
who is already buried in

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Remembering the Beginning


Jacqueline Dooley ~

I was unprepared
for the feel of your hair pulling free
with every brushstroke.
I wasn’t up to autumn
from the side of your hospital bed.
It seemed too much
for the universe to ask.
But, like you, I was choiceless
as I drove through November streets
the colors, drained and faded,
like your face when the chemo went

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What’s Left Over

Ruth Bavetta ~

One and a half tubes of smörgåskaviar, most
of a jar of blueberry jam, a full jar of lingonberries.
Four sets of blue plaid pajamas–God forbid
I should have gotten him red. Six pairs
of reading glasses, going back
in five-year increments. Hearing-aid
batteries stashed by the lamp.
Three packages of adult diapers.
Our marriage certificate.
The rest of the

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