by Janet Eigner
Mother’s left the building again to search
for her husband, a year ago passed on,
says, "Do you know where Len’s gone?"
"Our charter...we can’t
guard her safely on this side,"
worries the director,
"Call in our movers."
We creep along the palm-shaded sidewalk
the pristine lawns, behind the scrawny,
muscled couple toting
the plaid sofa-bed, her queen mattress
sturdy chair with arms to push herself upright
cherry china cabinet to hold the proud evidence
they’d shed the immigrants’ threadbare cloth:
Lalique crystal sculpture, a sixty year collection:
Sister takes the small dove.
I warm the smaller owl in my palm
across the parking lot that divides each
past day lived in her vivid suite,
front door open to clan and friends,
to the stuccoed,
discreet lock on the fire door
behind the front desk and another
barring the clinic’s medicine pantry.
The residents, sorted
by their stage of decline
live in pods: Tuscany, Stratford,
names that might nudge their lives’ past–
Windsor, Bellagio, Loire–
regions that might root and comfort the aging children
that their own world’s not yet shuttered.
The elevator hums us to the Bellagio section,
Italy Two, her one bright room.
She still knows us, her heart-aching children, says,
"this room is fine for you two,
but time for me to go back home."
She’s just halfway to
her next destination.
Janet Eigner is a poet, dance writer, just-retired psychologist, passionate gardener and cook, wife, mother, grandmother. Mother Nature and human nature awe her, as well as indigenous cultures in her Southwest backyard. She helps a bit with peace and social justice issues, has broadcast dance reviews on public radio in St. Louis and Santa Fe, and been the poet’s voice in collaborative performance works. These days, celebrating dance in Northern New Mexico is her social work. To view mroe of her work, visit www.eignerdancereviews.com.