For my Old
by Deborah Keele
A bright ray of sunshine filters through the blinds looking out of place.
Splashing light across the dank and dingy room.
It flashes bright upon a gnarled hand shaking with the effort of raising a spoon to lips pale and blue.
A gust of wind sweeps a curtain aside.
Its intended freshness dying in the stifling gloom,
Never reaching the twisted form sitting bent in a chair sweltering in the mid-day heat left alone there.

A woman moans in her sleep.
Eyes flash open, glazed, pain filled, as hands not gentle enough disturb her sleep.
Fresh faces, forms dressed all in white float upon her senses.
She struggles to focus on one, trying to express a need.
Her eyes flash bright for a moment full of life, then suddenly dim again.

I stand in the shadows and turn my head to hide my tears.
Wishing vainly that I hadn't seen the desperation registered
briefly, accusingly, in those eyes filled with pain.

A man once strong and proud talks of dreams he felt.
Wishing someone would stop to hear.
With a jolt the second spoonful of food pushed too fast into his mouth brings him from the past.
Angry, he spits it out bellowing the impotence he feels.
Just as fast as the anger came, it goes with the slumped posture of his once wide shoulders.
The cry, as usual, fell on deaf ears.

I stand in the shadows and turn my head to hide my tears.
Mumble a prayer under my breath to a god whom, at time like this,
I wonder if he is there.

Two forms huddle close.
Their voices float brittle and hoarse.
They talk of brighter days.
Each strays of thought while they watch the busy people hustle about.
Thinking to themselves, why don't they stop to talk to me?

One, for a moment, finds a forgotten spark of identity and huffs an indignant sigh,
A rebellious look to the eye.
Whispers to the other,
They tell us when we can sleep, when we can eat,
For pete's sake, even when we can go to the pot!

A tear slips down the tired, time-beaten face.
How could they let me forget who I am?
How could they leave me alone in this place?

I stand in the shadows and turn my head to hide my tears.
Fighting to calm thecrushing anger I feel,
All the time screaming a silent plea;
God help us find a way to give our old the Dignity they deserve in their autumn years.

Writing index