Sunday, March 02, 2008

For The Time Being

My father, my son—
institutionalized, both—
for the time being—

The lad is in rehab,
he’s checked himself in,
brought to a halt on a broken leg,
run out of road and out of time.

He thumps on his crutches
through Turquoise Lodge
and coerces nurses
to carry his coffee.

Leaving childhood at the door
to learn the language of recovery,
he strives to come out clean—a man—
in forty days.

The haze slowly clearing—
for the time being—free of demands
beyond his own healing,
he sleeps like a baby.

A new life awaits, outside the gates
as he works the steps. Lifting sober eyes
to gaze at Canada geese, honking
south down the Rio Grande
almost too high to see but only just imagine—

The shining days ahead, stepping out
into towering shadows in November’s
sudden brightness—yellow leaves
dancing in the wind—he says—

“I’m fine. Can I go home now?”

But he isn’t going back yet—
not for the time being—
to the home of lost childhood,
where the family lab is laid to rest
on the last golden noon
of Indian Summer.

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

He 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.

Linda Weissinger Lupowitz

For those who care to know, this is now an "old story" and we are happy to note that time goes by and things do change. Childrens do learn.

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