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thanks to your kind and good advice. It is my first in months!
POEM IN WHICH HIS ILLNESS ASSERTS ITSELF
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease leads to total paralysis of the voluntary muscles due to death of the upper and lower motor neurons.
Leaving Bed Bath and Beyond,
I can tell from the barrel stave
curve of his spine, that rounded hump,
the worsening flap-flop of the bad right foot
we’ve overdone it. I blame myself
though it was his can opener we’ve returned.
Boary with stubble, his skin
gray with fatigue, even his hair,
lying limp along his skull, pleads exhaustion.
Come on—-I urge, let’s go home. I resist s/mothering,
the urge to help him into the car,
but dawdle before slotting the key
in the ignition until he struggles inside,
timing the two to be coincidental. All my words
about his needing responsibility, self-respect,
dignity, independence, scatter
like the puffs of a smoke circle. I ache
to reach out, to take away, to take care
of what in the end my care cannot
change, taken or given. We do
what we can for one another in this life,
hope, pray, wish and plead for someone
else to when we can’t. Who isn’t dying,
after all? And who does not sometimes
need special care? At home,
though his arm muscles quiver, he smiles
as he opens the heavy door—-for me.