I never thought about living
in a nursing home until a social worker
declared that Mother needed the care
given in such a place. The words whirled,
swooped and kicked in the door
of her house. No compromises. Her mind
fought against leaving irises, gardenias,
hydrangeas. No desire to live
where wheelchairs grew beside narrow beds.
Five years later, I can look back and see the truth:
those who bloom in nursing homes
are strange flowers indeed. Strange,
as in exotic—some throw jokes, others
or turn the color of shooting stars.
Endangered species. Especially the few
who come in smiling about making
this decision for themselves.
Everyone brings knickknacks when they come—
right away things go into drawers and closets.
Only a few bring a bucket of cheer.
Most are in shock and must grieve
for long, slow months before deciding
whether to live here as a bald eagle
or as a black swan.
How we took notice
when Mother’s head finally lifted,
when the light trickled down her forehead,
when her back straightened, when she asked
if Bingo might be happening
in the dining room.
by Pat Durmon
Lights and Shadows in a Nursing Home (2013)
Many of you may know that through October of this year, I'm putting poetry rather than prose on my weekly blog. Each selected poem has been published in one of my four poetry books. The books are listed below. Clicking on a book will take you to its amazon.com page. Any purchases and reviews are greatly appreciated!
Thank you and Blessings,
Bald eagle on the North Fork River, Norfork, Arkansas.
Photographed by Christin Scallion, October 2019.