Happily Never After–One Shot Poetry


Image by tuchodi via Flickr

Happily Never After

Grandpa Ed struck a claim in Gold Country
when he was seventy-one years old.
Twenty-two years later he lost his vision
and his driver’s license.
Nobody had time to drive him anywhere
so he sold his red Ford pickup and died.

Mom met with us kids,
to explain how they’d freeze her body
and put her in the same hole as daddy.
She’d get to be on top for a change.
The surprise happened a few months later
when we buried my sister instead.

Last month in the desert, a pair of mourning
doves awakened me too early every morning.
Their cries reminded me of all I couldn’t have.
The last day I saw a mound of gray feathers
in a grove of trees. A rainbow filled the overcast sky while
the crow in a low-hanging branch looked satisfied.

Today I sat across from my friend at lunch.
She told me her husband was in a wheel chair now
and asked about
the early symptoms of dementia.
“You better get Power of Attorney,” I told her.
“Everyone who needs it has a copy of mine.”

It won’t be long now, I’m afraid,
before we have to put the dog down.

One of my darker poems, linked to One Shot Wednesday: http://onestoppoetry.com

Stop by and visit some amazing word artists!

Prisoner–A Reflection on Aging

In my response to my Monday Morning Writing Prompt I’m led to consider the sad reality of a common response to aging persons who have been affected by dementia or aphasia–the inability to speak that often occurs in the aftermath of a stroke. Having worked many years with the aging population as a Registered Nurse, I’m led to use this prompt to showcase how many approach those who are aging.


They talk about me like I’m not here. Because the words inside my brain can’t find their way to my lips, they think that I’m a shell.

They tell her, this sweet child, that I am not who I used to be. I heard their tsk, tsk when she put her arms around my neck. Don’t they know I feel the softness of her cheek against mine? I smell the scent of peaches in her hair, reminding me of the taste of summer.

She doesn’t shun me, doesn’t recoil from the pungent smell of aging. Doesn’t mind the roughness of my wrinkled cheeks and beard. I know she knows I hear the words she whispers—I love you, Grandpa. Do you remember when you used to bounce me on your knee? I was too young, myself, but Mama has it on a video I love to watch. I know you’re there inside, Grandpa.

I reach for her, to take her on my lap once more but then they grab her by the hand and jerk the child away. I see her tears and now I’m once again alone—a prisoner in this body. But my spirit soars.

Daily Haiku Challenge–I Will Never Forget

Portrait of old woman sitting by a window.

Image via Wikipedia

Submitted to SiS’s Daily Haiku Challenge: http://pendownmythought.blogspot.com/p/haiku-challenge.html  Today’s theme (February 3) is Mother.

I Will Never Forget

my aged mother
does not know what day it is
never forgets me

The title is drawn from the biblical book of Isaiah in which God’s love is described as that of a parent: “I will never forget you, my people. I have carved you in the palm of my hand. I will never forget you, I will not leave you orphaned, I will never forget my own.” (loose translation)

Big Tent Poetry–“Horror”


Somewhere within
it lingers—
that word you’ve known forever.
You descend into
the murky void
and grope.

Somewhere inside
in a corner
of your mind
a spider weaves
its tangled webs.

You know a monster lurks
down deep,
in shadowy crevices.
If you cannot
what happens next?

will you forget
my name as well,
or lose your way, or
not remember who you are?

Submitted to Big Tent Poetry. This week’s theme is “something scarey.” Check it out at http://bigtentpoetry.org/2010/10/come-one-come-all-october-22/

Writers, READ!

Every writer knows the importance of reading and the impact it has on our own skills. Because I write literary fiction, I gravitate towards the same in my reading choices. However, I’ve discovered that it’s critical to pay attention to what is going on in my life at the moment and plunge into different genres to acheive some sort of balance.

Here’s an example. Last night, I began to read the novel “Still Alice,” by Lisa Genova. Beautifully written and intense, it’s the fictional story of a brilliant woman’s descent into dementia. The reading group I attend here in the desert will discuss it at April’s meeting. However,I don’t know if I have the psychic energy to continue. Although I’ve worked with dementia my entire nursing career and have, myself, written a flash fiction piece from the first person point of view of a woman with dementia, I am immersed in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s–my 89 year old mother.
How different it is on this side of the street! I’m not sure I can bear the sadness.

I know that, down the road, “Still Alice” will remain on my reading agenda–maybe even before that next book club meeting. More than likely, I’ll offer it as my suggestion for my Reno book club. In the meantime, I have to listen to my inner self. Tonight I’ll download something mindless. I enjoy a good mystery now and again. Rarely, a romance. It’s important to read great writing to enhance our own skills, but even when it’s less than stellar–isn’t it fun to critique?

Love (in the True Sense of the Word) Poem

Our writing springs from our lives. As a nurse, I dealt, for the most part, with the elderly and dying. Many of my patients had Alzheimer’s or similar forms of dementia. When I participated in the PAD Poetry Challenge, one of the prompts was to write a love poem. This one didn’t make my final cut, but I thought I’d put it out there. Real love endures all the many losses associated with aging.

“Sweet Romance”

I can’t forget those eyes–
silver-blue like
meadow flowers
that looked into mine,
pierced my soul.

Your touch,
velvet smooth,
sparked shivers,
fire in the core of my body.

The heady scent,
lily of the valley,
flooded the room
when you walked in.

Sweet as honey,
the taste of you

Flowing from your lips
each word you spoke hangs
like a note of music
fills my head
with haunting melody.

Where do you hide?
Your body a husk
of who you used to be.
You finger the fringe of
a shawl wrapped around
fragile shoulders.
You look at me
but don’t remember
who I am.