My latest poem in a caregiving series is below. It is a response to my current duties tending to my mother, age 82, in her apartment. After dinner, my mother and I sit together and read books. The poem below was influenced by my reading of “Leaves Compared with Flowers” by Robert Frost.
“Late in life I have come on fern.”
Late in life my mother comes to pure green
organic, all natural, back-to-basics.
Spring water, HE laundry soap, socks woven
from local wool. With ammonia-dyed hair-do’s
I’m the heathen of her latterday Eden.
She scolds me (yuck!) with countless studies
reported by the health shows, but to no avail.
Every morning, heedless as a ficus
I down instant coffee, mug after mug, sugar packet
after sugar packet. She forgets that as a child
I’d been taken for too many years in a row to Easter
baskets stuffed with plastic yellow grass
and jelly beans. And to birthday cupcakes
every June, toppling with hot red candies.
And to summer after summer of purple popsicles.