By Marian Glaser © October 2004
When screams awake me I know where I am:
not in some Hell depicted by Bosch but
in this institute surrounded by the slowly dying.
Each life path traces a line, bulges,
thickens into maturity, dies down again
and goes back to a line.
Needs for care are at both ends of the life-bulge.
Death stalks, striking random blows,
leaving some past their century while
taking others at fifty after much pain.
I sit here in my wheelchair
and cope, cramming my moments with life.
I merge with the dolphin leaping high on my calendar
or the flower-hatted cats walking paw in paw beside it.
Pain drowns some, making them resent
the ones that stay afloat.
Sometimes my pain and the deaths can’t
be counterbalanced, but even then
being taken to an orchard or park
can absorb me, keeping me in this moment.
So can contemplating the mystery
of a seed turning into
a full-grown plant.