CW: Ageing, nursing home, long-term illness.
A house dress of blue flowers,
Nana’s uniform, image stuck deep
in my head – but I never knew her.
I recall her leaning, hands in lap,
tremors wracking her limbs,
whispery voice I strained to hear.
He could no longer care for her;
Grandfather’s heart attack landed hard
on his chest, pain restricted breathing;
who would take over with Nana?
My father’s car approached slowly,
great hulking brick structure - Bethany
Nursing Home. We entered, my brother,
Father; I held mother’s hand. Odors
assaulted my nose, disinfectant and
urine permeated my sinuses.
Mother put on a fake smile; I couldn’t,
eyes brimming with tears. My brother
talked of playing checkers with the old men;
Dad went outdoors to walk the grounds.
Are we really leaving Nana here?
My young mind wanted to scream out.
On Saturdays, picnic lunch eaten in the car,
we rode an hour to see Nana. I helped feed
my shaking silent Nana pureed mystery food
so she wouldn’t choke; Mother gagged
when she cleaned Nana’s dentures;
I couldn’t think of anything to talk about.
Julie A. Dickson writes poetry on topics such as teen bullying, nature, animal rights and loves to write Ekphrastic poems! Her work appears in many journals including Misfit, Open Word, Ekphrastic Review and Sledgehammer, or look for full length works on Amazon. Dickson shares her home with two rescued feral cats, Cam and Claire.