Poetry

ten dollars an hour

Your hands, blue skin stretched over bones.
Humming as you rouge your cheeks and lips,
But you still look like a sad, old
Person in makeup

I watch your reflection in the bathroom mirror
While you place more pins in your hair
For the fifth time this morning.

And I hear you talking quietly,
To yourself or your dead husband
Singing songs from your life
That only the two of you can hear.

It’s Sunday and I always take you to church
Cause even though you never remember my name
Some part of you always seems to know
When we skip that one duty,
And I must guiltily bear your temper
For the rest of the day.

I watch you make your way up the aisle
To the altar in front and notice
That your knees seem weaker than last week.

And I wonder to myself,
Why one who has been dealt so unfairly,
And has lost a husband, a sister, a self
Can still be so faithful
And smile in the mornings.

Still you close your hymnal hoping,
While I listen to your cracking voice,
“Jesus, My Shepherd!” you moan
“Lead me Home.”

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One thought on “ten dollars an hour

  1. this narrative applies to so many elderly people i have known. the faithfulness to the invisible divine & grouchiness to the people presentand a sinking, when the present & future mean nothing anymore, only the past matters & past mutterings ensue. we're living longer than ever due to medical breakthroughs (etc) & yet, when you ask our generation, most people want to die off before they slowly fade away.

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