Dot

I love Teresa Stouffer’s compassion for the older folks who sometimes inhabit her poems.  Teresa is a member of my poetry workshop group in State College.

Wheelchairs circle
the worker
dispensing
pills on plastic spoons.
I step over a man’s legs,
drool-soiled napkin on his thigh,
kiss Dot hello on her whiskery face,
a woman’s sticky hand tugs me.
Perfume and bowel odors
mingle, cloud the hallway.
I breathe through my mouth.
Meds swallowed,
Dot spits out,
“Are you in a hurry?”
In her room,
I snip the hairs on her chin.
Dot says,
“All I do is sit
and eat.
And I don’t feel much like eating anymore.
When will you be back? ”

– Teresa Stouffer

P.S.  New prompts are up on the Prompts page.

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