Friday, September 7, 2018

Fran Smith's Pieta

Fran Smith


You used to Loom Large.  Your critiques
Wounded me.  Recovery took weeks.
And now, at Calvary Hospital, it speaks
Volumes that your beauty, though diminished,
Persists despite the toll exacted by your years,
Despite the drugs that addle synapses.  Your fears
And pride and vengefulness and tears
And joy in jewelry and grandkids aren't quite finished.

Junkies would falter at the dose you get
Of opiates.  Sweet anodyne!  No pain but you regret
Your loss of language, hearing, mental clarity.  Yet
closeness, skin to skin, is what you really crave.

I know this.  So now that nurse is gone, I stealthy-slide my arms
Under your covers.  Under your thin back.  What harm
Is there?  Will you catch my germs?  But there is no alarm:
Embraces are welcome at hospice ... especially at this stage.

Your shoulder blades are bird-like. By contrast
Your grandkids' infant backs were muscle-bound and even then surpassed
Their little grandma's now cradled in my arms.  Rid of ambivalence, at last,,
I'm willing, but sad, to let you go.


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