Twice Removed

by Tamara Nicholl-Smith on September 24, 2012 · 1 comment <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Articles,Writers & Poets


Damn the lights,

unnatural, bright, coiled,

spewing white 15 watts.


Damn the halls,

with their smooth vinyl, soaked in bleach,

the stench of sterile rising like road kill

on a summer street.


Damn the cinderblock walls,

painted neutral beige and

hung with photos and cards

scavenged from a real life.


Damn the horizontal window,

thin, aluminum clad,

opening onto sparse trees –

they tell me it is lovely.


Damn the door, Formica and

wide enough for wheelchairs and walkers.

Even the door conspires to depress me. 


Damn the desk, they brought for my comfort

along with a laptop and a few photos.


Damn the smiling nurses

clad in pastel scrubs, dotted with

patterns of strawberries or Snoopys,

their voices modulated neutral like the walls

or coaxing as a Kindergarten teacher.


All this, while my home;

wooden and warm, lightly coated in dust and must

of decade upon decade of books collected,

of mismatched china, of teacups from England,

of a garden overgrown but still with peonies sprouting full,

of birds that still land and swing

on birdbath and branch,

of the myriad mullioned windows

that dapple light play upon the end table

next to my chair –

sits empty and without me.


My beloved, she lives still –

                      in all these things. 


My fingers long to trace the banister she last held

my eyes to gaze upon the garden.


                   Now I am, twice removed from her.


Perhaps there I might meet my end

in a topple down a stair,

or slip upon a sidewalk-

but here, I shall surely pass

from boredom and bile.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Trent Demarest September 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

What a very sad and lovely poem. Thank you.

Rage, rage against the dying of natural light and the waning of the three-dimensioned life.

I hope all here have read Wendell Berry’s “How to Be a Poet,” which strikes a similar chord:

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