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The Survivor

he never meant to survive
the aides are all female here
we put our arms beneath his
and lift him from his wheelchair
to the toilet
we hold him up until we're done
so he will not fall forward
ours are the only women's arms
he will ever know now
because he thought he could not live
without the arms of one
before his parents died
they took the gun and threw it
into the fastest river they could find
lost forever like the son they thought
had lost his mind to puppy love

the bud of a flower that can never open
a young bird in a flock so old
most can fly no more
surrounded by white hair and wrinkled skins
wheeling - lining up for bingo
he cannot play
he can't move much his mouth is mute
below the still innocent face of youth
there are few places for what's left of young men
they go to where old age waits impatiently
for what he prays for what he craved and craves
enough grey matter was left for him
to know exactly where and what he is
he can twitch one lip to answer back my smile
while i lift him while i break inside while a piece of me dies

a young girl once took blame
for what she let go of when she grew up
she thinks of him but moves past that
to put her arms around her mate
and lift her children into bed hugging them goodnight
she mostly forgets
that she was the object of undying love
trying to die

i joke and flirt with him
as i lift each spoonful to his mouth
careful not to let one bit miss its mark
his long days are short for me
who has things to do and can
four soft arms lift him into bed
i gently change the faded white gown
i pull his blanket up
he is tired out by only time
every night after i hug him goodbye
i go off shit
i walk out
i look up at the sky
then sit in my car and cry

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
this is for chad. i have never forgotten him in over 40 years. he would be almost as old as i am now, but i hope he long ago left and found his peace.
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content


a sad story. I know all about nursing-homes and their occupants. I've never had the experience of having to take care of a
person that has such a tragic story, but the usual people in those places leave one crying sometimes. Two of my sisters work in the field of gerontology, one as a RN and the other as an aide. My mother just "escaped" as she puts it, from the nursing-home where the aide works. She went home with my sister after a severe decline in her health. After having been out of there only a week, she is back to eating a little and her mood has lightened some. I used to work as a taxi-driver and serviced nursing homes both as a driver to take people that were capable, to various places and appointments and nurses and aides back and forth to work. I have many stories to tell about them. One of which is a the story of "Steve McQueen" a poem that I wrote about a certain gentleman I used to bring to church. [His family met him there every Sunday]. It's been a long time but, I still think about him too, so I know what you mean. I think that you have told this story with extreme emotion yet grace and dignity. My only criticism is that I wish you had capitalized in the proper areas; it would make much easier reading. Kudos to you. ~ Geez.

lol. unless i am writing in a form like a sonnet i do not like to use capitals. or punctuation. i will defend this by saying a lot of free verse poets do the same. sorry if hard to read. i don't understand why capitals would make it easier? seriously tell me

author comment

I guess. Now that I know you are adverse to writing with capitals or punctuation, it is easier to read. At first, I looked only to the places I thought capitals would or should be and it threw me. I can deal with the no punctuation, because as you say, so many do it now. I guess that I'm just old-school and I dread the day when there will be run-on sentences and no spaces. Still good work and I liked it very much.~ Geezer.

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