For fifty years mother’s face reflected
a marriage she endured,
a man she didn’t love.

But when he was blind and frail
in hospice,
she visited him often,

and when he reached out, groping
for her hand,
she would smile and move it
(again and again)

just out of reach.

– Sarah Russell
For Poets United Poetry Pantry
and Real Toads prompt “power
Drawing by Greuze

36 thoughts on “Requital

  1. Agreed with Kelli — finely and then brutally sketched. And the title is perfect — my reading is that those final moments of reaching and pulling away requites the essence of a loveless marriage. Great stuff.


  2. A powerful, powerful piece. It, literally, gave me shivers … perhaps, because I have seen this so many times, over the course of my life – several times in relationships close to me. Brilliant writing, Sarah!


  3. A very sad story….”just out of reach.” I think where there was no love, when one becomes frail and old, I have seen people change in their feelings for one another. So much “back story,” here. So many words unspoken.


  4. You have drawn a detailed Durer-like sketch of a relationship here, intricate and complex as the hidden musculature of emotion that moves it–very concise, clean and effective writing.


  5. A complex poem that describes the situation perfectly. The ending is indeed ‘brutal’ as someone mentioned; but understandable. At last she can say ‘no,’ just ‘no.’


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