Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thoughts about Richard

We're going to New York to visit my ailing brother-in-law tomorrow. In keeping with my poem a week theme of writing about people I don't know, here's one about him.

I Won’t Know Him


Even though I know him
I won’t know him.
I hear he’s shrunk in size
down 20 pounds
from his usual husky physique
in just a few weeks.
I hear his speech is fuzzy,
like he’s high on drugs,
but perhaps that’s a good thing.
He was jovial and upbeat
when I saw him last,
contemplating knee surgery
and spending the last years of his life
in Florida with his grandkids.
Instead , his years of smoking
sometimes four or five packs a day
left his body rampant with cancer.
When I see him next
he’ll be in a hospital bed
placed conveniently in his living room
in Queens, New York.
The taut white sheets
light cream coverlet
and stack of extra-thick pillows
support and comfort his every move.
Alongside his bedpost
hangs the morphine drip
that he can tweak ever so slightly himself
to ease his pain.
When I see him tomorrow
this man whom I’ve known for 40 years
will be a stranger to me.
If only I had seen him two months ago.

4 comments:

豬肉 said...

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Erica said...

Wow! This in so many ways is how I felt when I saw my grandfather for the last time at christmas. It was him in body but definatly not in spirit. I will remember him fondly and will now pass the cherished memories I have of both him and my Gran to my 3 yr old little girl who I know will miss her "Great Pa" very much!
Thank You for putting into words what I couldn't.
Erica Willard
(Richard Grandaughter)

Madeline Sharples said...

Thanks, Erica, for your lovely comment.

Madeline Sharples said...

Thanks for the comment in Manderin. I finally got it translated, and I really appreciate your encouragement.