Weekends I visit Ed in the rest home,
Some days are better than others
For both of us. I tell him
I slipped on the ice last night
Walking to my car after working
In the snow for nine hours
Picking up and delivering two
Truckloads of furniture. I thought
My ass was kicked until I saw my feet
Going up as I was going down.
It was the punctuation point
I didn’t need. Ed knows all about
Getting and not getting what he needs
And doesn’t need. He says
He can’t think or remember anymore.
I tell him he looks good with his beard
Trimmed and his ears lowered.
He tries to stifle a “don’t patronize me”
Glance by saying, “I look like a groomed
Whale.” It’s true, he’s grown into his
Oversized wheel chair, and has to wait
For the machine, the lift, to get him
Out of bed or onto the toilet.
It’s bitter irony he says to end
The trip as an enormous baby—
Diapered, handled, and fed—to cry
Out in bed like his roommate
Trying to make a die of it, wanting
Help and not having much luck.
Depressing, yet oddly enough
I feel better about being stove up
(And walking away from here to scribble
My little poem down) as I watch
The old miner king of poetry,
Wearing his Irish tam of a crown,
Being hoisted onto his throne once again.