by Claire Scott

Double Vision

Help me out here O Lord.
I see him with double vision,
as though through the haze of scotch.
Two of him every time I look,
both the person in front of me
& a lingering revenant.
The man who wavers & wobbles on a cane,
gets lost in supermarkets,
forgets the milk, the macaroni
& the man who walks upright
moving quickly to find the perfect
peaches, the ready-to-eat melons.
What of the man who can’t remember the word
watermelon, saying spitting seeds instead,
& the man who did the NY Times
Sunday crossword puzzle with an ink pen.

Desperate, I message my virtual doctor
who says it’s outside her scope of practice.
Try tea leaves or Tarot or an emotional support turtle.
I look up & there he is making fried eggs,
spattering grease on the stove,
the smell of burn, the shriek of alarm.
A parody of the man standing next to him
who made boeuf bourguignon & Crème Brûlée.
I feel rubbed raw, anger prickling
like an onerous case of poison oak,
eclipsing the little patience I have left.
Although I try O Lord, I try.
Please know I try.
But I am living in memory’s waxworks
with a hovering ghost who mirrors & mocks.
Help me out here O Lord.
I think what I need is another heart
to open the door that isn’t there.


I Am Just Fine

Despite the blood thinner
that makes me look
like an abused woman,
raspberry bruises all up my arms,
like someone grabbed me hard.
Too hard, angry hard.
The CVS lady whispers
are you OK? should I call 911?
I mumble about surgery, a stent
and flee the scene, forgetting
the bottle of baby aspirin
which is what I came for.

Despite brittle bones with
a 20% chance of breaking
at any moment.
Maybe right now
particularly the right ilium.
Straight to a nursing home
do not pass GO,
where people call you dearie
and your motormouth roommate
is certifiably deranged.
Speeding downhill from there.
Do not collect two hundred dollars.

And I can’t forget the fact
that my hair is falling out
by the fistful, actually
my nana was bald
and I hated her.
She sipped glass after glass
of cooking sherry
until she fell over
and I walked home.
Stress says my hairdresser.
You look wonderful says my husband.
A wig says my son.

What I am saying is
right now I am fine.
At this exact moment I am just fine.
Can we skip the third act?
Look! I can cross it out, see!
But let’s be loyal to what we love
including these bodies
that have seen better days.

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