Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"The Perfect Black Blazer" - Bobbi Lurie

The head nurse called to say
Mom threw a potted plant,
smashed the TV set, banged
her head against the wall.
When I got there I saw the deep
bruise on her forehead.
She could barely speak so we sat
mute for some minutes.
I watched her slide to the side
of the couch as she scratched
her arms, pulled at her hair.
I needed to bring her back
so I told the story of
our Saturday excursions,
searching for the perfect
black blazer.
I exaggerated
the futility of finding
something immaculate like that,
something slim-fitting and neat,
able to match any pair of pants
or skirt we wore.
We never found it
of course but kept searching
as we watched other women
more glamorous than we were.
When I asked if she
remembered that, she laughed
and said, "oh yes."
I looked around the room
into the distant faces,
haunted hair, blank stares.
"Time for lunch," a nurse yelled.
I walked Mom to her chair,
watched the aides tie
bibs around the residents’ necks,
leaned to kiss
Mom gently good-bye on her cheek,
trying not to notice
she no longer smelled like
my mother.
She had taken on the scent
of the urine-ammonia halls
and the talc caked heavy
on her body.
I walked out, then felt
something strange
like a voice without words
tell me to return so I ran
quickly back
to where she sat, her hands
on her lap.
They were the same hands,
so I squeezed them tight,
kissed her for a second time.
Only this time I hugged
her close,
inhaled deep,
took her all in.


Ohdeargod, this made me tear up at work.

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