• Marian Glaser


By Marian Glaser © June, 1996

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June looked at her dropped book.

She could reach down risking a fall

or wait for help.

She could imagine lying with

a broken hip, rescue, removal

from this home, sirens blaring, as

she left her house, street, district.

Now here she was, watching

distraction from her now constant pain,

surcease of her boredom and loneliness,

an all too brief escape into another world,

lying there, nestled on the faded pattern of her Persian rug

near the leg of the carved teak table

she and Ed had bought at that Indian bazaar.

That memory stirred up one

of that awful morning ten years ago

when she had woken to find Ed’s dear face

cold and dead

beside her on the pillow.

Her reach hung nearby.

The pages might tear but

she’d chance that.

It beat waiting for six hours to watch

her daughter stoop,

sigh with exasperation

and hand her a volume she wished she

had time to read herself.

Her daughter’s world was full

of work, husband, children.

Dropping in after a day dealing with students

sent to the vice-principal’s office by desperate teachers

to find her mother unable to deal

with this book

would make her talk brightly about

the virtues of nursing homes.

June had seen friends enter and disappear often without dying.

She’d drunk tea, laughed and talked with Frances

almost every day for twenty years.

The last time she had visited her

Frances had resembled a stone effigy,

immobile, fed, washed, diapered, dressed and moved

without response.

June reached for her reach.

Using it on a dead weight with her withered muscles

was difficult. What wasn’t at ninety?

She’d never expected to live a decade longer than Ed.


The book was back.

She could dive in again.

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