Twice RemovedBy Tamara Nicholl-Smith for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC
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.