By Marian Glaser © September, 2002
One small touch of red and the name repeatedly said
does not make crab of this pollock slab.
I could’ve taken Grace to bed but my mother said
I’d be fed. Bet it’s on her tab. I won’t blab.
This pretend china dish is full of mock crab fish.
This whole place reeks of plastic lace.
I was told they gave good care, peered into each dark cave
that social worker called a room, heard a loud boom,
swore, was told not to rave. She said it happened often. I should be as brave
as clients waiting for the tomb. They wouldn’t hear it as doom
Typical of the hypocrites here. Bet they say pish instead of damn. I wish
I was at home, eating with Grace with a grin on my face.
I’ve toured this building, been everywhere and seen
a sunny, shining face for family and visitors. Funny.
No wonder when parents keen we wonder what they mean.
Attentive staff call them honey, earning their money.
A quick glance teaches you as much as one short dance
about one you’ll date for years before asking to be your mate
Mother picked this whited sepulchre by chance, a broken hip the forcing circumstance.
The corridors are waxed. Washed and neat beneath wandering feet.
Painted, picture-hung walls seem to negate frantic phone calls
about food, pills, etcetera that leave me so beat I have to grab a seat.
This smiling hypocrisy galls. A word that’s meant to soothe and quiet palls.
I remember the evil fate of having to close mother’s garden gate.
That was her home, the spot from which to roam.
Now it was gone as completely as this morning’s dawn.
She gave her cat one last comb, looked where she’d sat yesterday to read a poem,
glanced lovingly at house and lawn. Then with face drawn
she sat silently in my car. We didn’t have to drive far.
We arrived here. Right away they called her “dear”
A kind but anonymous word. I went to a bar for a jar
of whiskey. That stopped the fear that I’d let this go with a tear.
I’d follow this up. I wouldn’t say “Yup.
I solved my problem.” And heave a sigh
while emptying my coffee cup or patting my Irish wolfhound pup.
It’s high time that I ate this mess on my plate.
The food may or may not be free but this trip has already taught me
that I can be as easily deceived as when I was eight, or at any rate
dazzled by outward show, be prepared to not be sad.