Image of shelter


My Grandmother at 90

Nanny is small
now, and frail, and
her remembering
is all done by others.
She calls the nurses
"Cookie," and also
her companions
(paid to visit
five times a week
since the aides
started saying she
seemed hostile).
Now she has toys
in a basket beside
her bed -- a beach
ball, a rabbit
with floppy ears,
a costumed bear,
and in her wheel-
chair on our way
to lunch she sings
a cheerful song
without a tune,
ta-daa, ta-
daa, ta-daa.

While I cut up
meatloaf for her
she tells me a
story brightly:
"I didn't like it,
and she said she
was there, but I
had so much to do,
I raised holy hell."
She needs both
hands to lift
her glass of Coke
slowly to her lips,
and she smiles
at me prettily
as she does.
Later she is
angry -- doesn't
want to stay
in her room,
doesn't want
to sit by the
nurses. She
stares at me,
terror in her
eyes, and calls
out softly,
"Help me,
Ruth! Help
me!" None
of us know
who Ruth


            April, 2000

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