Friday, June 27, 2003

Gerald Joseph Weissinger, my father, was born
in Philadelphia on November 22, 1913. He had 12 siblings.
He was married to Helen Owens for sixty years, and fathered
four children: Carol, Connie, Linda and Mark.
He was a machinist and a working-man.
Gerry crossed over on May 27, 2003, in Van Buren,

Here are a few stanzas of a poem I wrote last November -

For the time being, my dad’s
in a home—not his own—
at the end of the road, at the end
of Maine where nurses speak French
a language which he does not

Gerry roams the halls of Borderview
on swollen feet, cranky and demanding,
pushing his merry-walker, getting
his days and nights mixed up.

He eats his pudding, takes his pills.
The days, the years, the decades blend.
My sisters and I are interchangeable.

He waits for something to happen,
wonders if it’s time: for the time being.
Nurses feed and change him, keep him warm
dressed and dry, and so he asks—

“I’m fine. Can I go home now?”

But he isn’t going home—alone
two years now mom is gone—
the little house in Caribou was
sold to pay the freight for this
his last resort. His term
is terminal at Borderview.

My father’s lost his glasses, but he
hears the geese fly in from Canada—
turns his white head eastward, peers
down the frozen St. John River—
from the edge of one life to another—
across the fog-veiled border
where winds cut to the bone.

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