Visiting hours/psych ward

Old woman
sitting forlorn
on this hospital bed
gulping green pills
left by a nurse

Sedated and lost
you don’t know my name
and call for someone else
(Circumstance does not
permit us much clarity)

Once I pretended
you were the witch next door
living in a house of ferns
teacups and afternoon radio

I didn’t know then
of the runaway husband
or that your cats ate
better than you

Old woman
sitting forlorn
on this hospital bed
surely life owes you more
than a legal form
signed by a dutiful son

December 1967.

It never fails. Every December when the snows fall, I remember old Mrs. H., our next door neighbor, who was abruptly removed from her home before Christmas by her adult son and placed directly in a psych ward. When I heard she was there, I went to visit her, but she had been broken down by what had unjustly occurred. Her materially-greedy son had forced her out and made her sign over her house to him. Afterward, he was crying as if someone had done something terrible to him, as if he was the one who should have been pitied!

Mrs. H was no beauty in appearance–a little scary-looking to children, but she was a kind, harmless soul. I still remember one day when I was very ill at home alone as a child, and I heard the door unexpectedly opening. It was Mrs. H. She had come with some Jack and Jill magazines for me and made me a hot lunch. And every year at this time, I remember her and I burn at the evil that selfish materialistic greed can wreak on the elderly. Poor Mrs. H. who deserved a much different, kinder, more humane fate that Christmas.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply