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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thomas Hubbard ----- two poems


Back in the car he wipes his eyes,
checks the rear view mirror and
starts the engine….

That old curtain story worked again,
quieting her sobs, bringing her back,
partly, from the fear in her eyes, the
uncertainty she inhabits nowadays…
back to bedsores that heal so slowly…
again he complained, they promised,
but nothing changes… since he
brought her to this “rest” home, the
only one nearby with a vacancy, with
promises of great care, cheery rooms…
providing negligent, dingy spaces, at
a price higher than his income.

So passes another day, another visit,
so comes another evening on the couch,
a night alone in his house of memories…
driving home he detours past the factory,
stops in front of the Second Shift bar,
sits in the car, can’t go inside, no use,
gives it up, motors on to the house,
Into the drive, shuts the engine down,
sits and stares, lights a forbidden smoke,
puts it out, walks to the front door and
steps into the rooms they shared,
rooms where happy voices still echo.

Sitting at the same desk where he
filled tax forms year after year and
worried, in those early months, about
house payments, car payments,
doctor bills, school clothes for the kids…
he runs fingers through his greying hair,
sips the last from a glass of bourbon,
pushes back the chair, stands to
carry the glass to the kitchen for a refill,
which he carries to the couch,
stopping to turn on the TV… world news
while another day fades.

Two pretty girls and a very earnest man
discuss the world’s events and local news
as he stares into nothing….

Fading to Blank

Her voice gallops across air,
big-eyed from the uncertainty,
nearly silent ….

Vapors of fear, questions,
where is this? who is this?
which this is this? and still
comes nobody through this
confusing door which leads,
on the dwindling good days,
to those kitchen afternoons 
watching Mom, waiting as
cookies swell behind the
oven door’s foggy window, or
listening as supper sizzles
in the big cast iron skillet.

Comes no greying man who
claims to be her husband, to
remind her how she sewed
these bedroom curtains so
far back along the hallway of
years, that same hallway
leading to Mom’s kitchen and
schooldays, and the wedding,
the children… the hallway
that can’t recall her name,
that sometimes takes her to
the porch, not the bathroom..

Her eyes watch strangers now,
who come when it’s daytime,
making her exercise, even
bathing her, changing her gown,
gently combing her hair and
telling her she’s pretty… lord,
how can she think about pretty
when thoughts run away like
her naughty children who
never visit anymore, but send
sad-eyed strangers to sit
on the couch and act happy?

Her galloping voice gradually
slows, then halts, quiet as she
vacantly stares….

©2018 Thomas Hubbard

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