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Geriatrics

by Gary T. Czerwinski
This
Is

The world
Of the dead--

The drooling
Who collapse

Like lungs
And veins.

Purple
Bruises

Stain
The desert

Of their skin--
This one

Undresses
Her breastless

Frame--
She wants to go home.

But your hands,
Grandfather,

Are grafted
To the bed--

Wedded
Not to undo

The hurts
Of your

Tubes.
You refuse all food.

Down
The hall a woman

Moans
From pain.

Your fingers
Twitch

The wrinkles
Of your sheet.

Grandma prays.
She's afraid.

At times
Your eyes

Open opaque
And surprised--

Emaciated--
The law prevents

Emancipation
From morphine.

Already
You are a mummy--

The journey
Eased last year

By your son.
Cancer won.

Your daughter
And her treasures

Pilgrimage
This vigil

You absolve
With whispered love.


The morning
Before your end

They find
You unclothed.

Your final
Lesson--

Naked and unsaid.

It is spring.

I read your eulogy.
Your coffin is cherry.

Your garden
Is undone.

What will you
Have us know?

This mausoleum
Mouths

The wisdom
Of the dead--

A litany
Of names

And dates.
Echoes--

Don't wait!
Don't wait!

Selection 1 of

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Copyright © 2002 by Gary T. Czerwinski. All rights reserved.