POETRY

Just Stop Breathing

Stop
Please stop
I can't take this anymore
After three years of watching you die
I'm sorry I can't stay
To watch you drown
A mermaid trapped out of water
Each breath flooded with ocean
Hands bent in unconscious supplication
Cold sweats, unresponsive
How can I end your pain?
I can stop the suffering of animals
But for you, my own mother
I can't legally do anything
Except watch
When I no longer can bear to see
How Alzheimer's ends
You gasp
Purple splotches bloom across your neck and cheek
I beg you to escape this trapped life
Reminding you of all the reasons you were special
You gasp and gasp and gasp
I wonder if you can even hear me
But in the end
All I hear
Is silence







Let Go (my mother had Alzheimer's Disease)
Let go
Of the sentence you can't finish
Of trying to remember
My name
Where you are
What month it is

Let me help you
Clean your glasses
Comb your hair
Ease into this wheelchair
We're moving you down the hall
You won't have to take any more
Pills you can't swallow
You don't have to eat supper
If you only want juice
We understand
Your weakness is growing stronger
Your eyes are dim
Your mouth is dry

Now it's time
for you to let go
And for me to say good-bye




Wheelchair Waltz (again for my mother)

Once upon a time
I was your daughter
You knew my name

You combed your hair
Your clothes matched (way more than mine)
You drove a car

Back in a fairy tale
Your eyes lit up when you saw me
Now your smile is hesitant, unsure

Broken sentences
Trailed off thoughts
I try to fill in the blanks

You retreat into sleep
Head dropped, breathing slowly
I hate to touch your arm and wake you

Can you still walk in your dreams?
Can you escape this wheelchair?
Is that world more beautiful than this one?

Do you still dream?
Or retreat into a fuzzy nothingness?
Is it wrong to wish you could stay asleep forever?

I'm sorry it's so hard for me to face you.
Each day more difficult to remember who you used to be.
You don't deserve this slow blank death.





Happy Birthday from your Not-So-Little Girl (for my father)

You wore the uniform of the elderly
A band-aid on your elbow and a striped polo tee
A dark belt hiking up your faded old slacks
Your basement packed with things from the past
Inside your clothes
There was too much room
You had never been this skinny
You had never been so cold
I will never again hear your stories retold

Now that you’re gone
I see you everywhere
In slow moving vans
Pocket protectors and grey hair
But none of these strangers have your sputtering laugh
Or twenty-five napkins of penned physics graphs
None of them read me the Little House books
Or made TV dinners when Mom couldn’t cook
You ate Quaker Oat Squares
Sat on cracked vinyl chairs                                                                          
Used felt tipped pens
Had church choir friends
Liked big band tunes
Duct-taped vacuums

But now your basement is empty
And your clothes have been donated
There’s no more chocolate cake for your birthday
And I don’t feel like your little girl anymore





A Spenserian Stanza I wrote in High school
(religion confused me)

He walks along the road of bricks and stone.

The people follow, eating sawdust cakes;
Grey faces make him wish to be alone.
To him they never speak, but noise they make.
Their laughter scares him--painful, loud and fake.
They put him down to reach false paradise,
The heavy doors slam shut sham golden gates,
The colored glass will keep the light outside.
Beyond their painted room, the boy can see the sky.





While listening to New Order's Elegia

(written in college--here's the LINK to the song on You Tube)

Deep tones of sad and mournful elegy

First quiet then so loud and strained they scream.
Sad notes, continuous monotony.
The pattern runs around the air in streams.
The perfect lack of vocal cries completes
The guided tour of all my tainted thoughts.
The walk along the chosen path of sweet
And beautiful depression dismally wrought.
My soul and mind are forced to wither now--
The quiet night disrupted by the song.
The past bad times I must remember how
So much of life will go completely wrong.
Then when the spell comes to a fateful end
The magic's blown away with present wind.




Histo Hell

(Wrote this after a particularly difficult Histology--the study of tissues--exam in Veterinary School, then showed it to a friend of mine. A few days later, while walking to my mailbox, I found my Histology Professor laughing over something she was reading taped to the library wall--it was THIS POEM!!! GAH!!!)

"Name this organ. Name this part."

Feel the descending of my heart.
I've never seen this slide before.
Consider sneaking out the door.
Decide to look at section Two--
Maybe that will give a clue.
"List the use to pass this class."
How in the Hell can I do that?
Don't even know just where I'm at.
In my left side there grows a pain.
The blanks stay empty as my brain.
Take the slide off and set it down.
Put it back on, move it around.
But it always looks the same,
And nothing's working in my brain
What am I doing with my life?
Why can't I get this question right?
Was it a fluke they let me in?
Is Histo Hell for all my sins?
Just two more months of this damn class,
Then I won't feel like such an ass--
Until semester two, when something new
Will make me feel this stupid, too.

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