by Daniela Lorenzi 


I carry you with me
through urine-scented hallways
past linen carts loaded down with too-worn
beige green sheets
some clean and folded, slapdash,
others reeking, stuffed in lumpy bags;
unlabeled plastic bottles jostle from steel hooks
like tattered buoys from a dock
caustic cleaning fluids sloshing.

I carry you with me
to the steel-framed bed by the window
maneuver through your coterie of oxygen,
suction, feeding machines. Sling lift. Wheelchair.
Teddy bears and happy-faced fake flowers
frame the window. Photographs
of all of us together, of luckier times,
hang from brothy walls —
a futile attempt to float you

I carry you with me
like a weighty cloak of breaths
I can parcel out as needed
when your absence becomes too heavy,
threatens to implode me. I inhale
and pick you up again, continue our journey
past those urined hallways, through
the automatic doors to the courtyard garden;
chair brakes secured, we sit, you and I,
looking up through the canopy of rust-yellow leaves
at filtered sunlight.


Polished Oak                                                            

Reading glasses rest
on the table by the window
the half-finished New York Times
artlessly folded, expecting, perhaps,
a return to the task.

A wine glass
refracts winter light;
crusted dregs of red
line the bottom
as dried rivulets
like watered blood
trail down the crystal stem.

There is sure to be a ring
on the polished oak by now.

His chair, still warm
in the sun, brown leather seat
worn and scratched, molded
with time into a perfect fit
invites a sniff from Max
who lifts his head, waiting
for his customary scratch
but then curls up, resigned,
in the shadow of slippered feet.

On occasion, though
– funny thing –

he cocks his head just so
as if enjoying a good rub
between the ears.

Dog dreams. Perhaps.