Posted tagged ‘going home poem’


April 29, 2017


You could no longer swallow, so after they finally let us say no
to the tubes, they wrapped you in white and wheeled you
out into what felt like a plastic lozenge but was also
the only way home.

It was a bitter day, and the white just thin
cotton–the gurney spindling and shaking
in the wind, the curb too high, the door too slow, nothing fast enough
in that bright blow–

so I, having flown down from winter,
wedged my woolen hat
around your head, armed your chest
with my coat
but they were women’s wear, the hat crocheted
with big petal flowers, and you
my father,
and as I worried that you’d die in them, the word dignity
ricocheting about my head, I determined that you would not die,
not on that
way home, and making (maybe) some kind of joke,
laid my head gently gently
against yours, the hat brim whiskering
my cheek

while your eyes, slitted, tried
to smile, while mine kaleidoscoped time,
and as the ambulance began its swerves,
the wagon swinging even though it did not race, I held to some
metal rail, and you to something
else, and the heat
came on at last
with the engine,
and we made it
all right.



Draft poem for Brendan’s wonderful prompt on Real Toads to write about the penultimate, or other related matters–best to read the post itself.  Drawing and photo of drawing mine.  All rights reserved. 

If I have time and will may try to post a few new (drafty!) things to make up missed days in April. (Sigh.)  Congrats to the stalwart who have posted every day this month! And congrats to others too who have done their best! 


March 8, 2013


Last visit, her face was swollen, foreshortened by
pink scarf, but her cheekbones (Cherokee, she told me
when we were young) have now reasserted
themselves, her scalp refeathering.

You look so beautiful, I say, words she seems
to pick up, smile flickering,
until she turns again
to trying to sit, though we have
to catch and lift and
her husband
to support her,
which she cannot
bear for long.
I have to get up, she says,
I have to get out of this place.

He tries to stall, talks of brushing her hair
first, and for a moment, she leans
into his fingering
of brief curls, but then, determined, arching away,
I’ve got to get home.

You are home, he tells her,
in your own room, your own bed,
but she pushes now so hard
that we turn her legs, gather her arms, lift and walk
her to a chair, which despite whimpering
urgency, she cannot take, its chintz print
roses on vines.

Did you call the car? Tell him
to come right now?  You know you’ve got
to call it. 

I called it, her husband lies
as he holds her head close to slide down drops.
But I’ve got to go home, she cries, pulling away
from body, pain, still air.
Just stay for a bit, he whispers.


I had determined to take a break from writing but I am posting this revised version of an older poem for dVerse Poets Pub “Meeting the Bar” prompt on home, hosted by the wonderful poet Pamela  Sayers (who writes of Mexico) and Victoria C. Slotto.  This is a poem that I have rewritten many times, never really able to get it right.  A different version can be found elsewhere on this blog and in my book of poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco).