Tia Lucia Enters the Nursing Home

“…She is reduced to another being.”

I love this poem not only for the humanity it shows, but also for its many layers of meaning.  Deborah Paradez teaches at Columbia University.  You can read more about her and more of her poetry here.

All morning my daughter pleading, outside
outside. By noon I kneel to button her
coat, tie the scarf to keep her hood in place.
This is her first snow so she strains against
the ritual, spooked silent then whining,
restless under each buffeting layer,
uncertain how to settle into this
leashing. I manage at last to tunnel
her hands into mittens and she barks and
won’t stop barking, her hands suddenly paws.
She is reduced to another being,
barking, barking all day in these restraints.
For days after, she howls into her hands,
the only way she tells me she wants out.

– Deborah Paredez
First published in Poetry Magazine