Marian Glaser ©, April 1996
I sit in my wheelchair waiting for food.
Bill and I sat at a wooden table,
taking the time to talk.
We saw squirrels chasing around the boles
of our maples, balance
on our phone and wash lines,
build nests in attics, in chimneys,
steal food from birdfeeders
and eat the bulbs I planted.
I’m now being wheeled into a formal garden.
“Dear”s and “Honey”s help make me
feel like an infant.
I wait for water to drink and wash.
I’m handled like an object called ‘she’, pushed and pulled,
hear patients shout “Help!” when none is needed
that can be given.
Where is that inner peace I once was sure
would end our life?
These golden years were going to be spent
reading, traveling with my husband,
gardening, chatting with friends,
reminiscing with Bill about our life, memories, jobs,
avoiding our cat when sweeping,
thinking of the memories each moment holds.
My tray has come. Before I eat
caused by being treated like empty air
by people who claim my most idle whim
is their command
NOTE: A cross-Canada survey on neglect and abuse in long term care hospitals was made. I was asked to be on the steering committee but realized I did not have the energy. So, they asked me to write a poem for the educational package. I did, and this was published on the first page. Ten years later, my poem was still being used in discussion groups in various hospitals.