A bus went from their new home, La Fayette
Assisted Living Apartments, to a municipal
swimming pool. She said, I think the bus
stopped going there. What she meant was,
I forgot how to swim.
Eyes flooded with feeling, she insisted, I can’t
go for a walk in these halls! It’s not the same as
breathing fresh air, seeing the change of seasons.
Dad? He doesn’t understand, he was never active.
I walked three miles a day, I was independent. I
looked out for our health. See what he eats now!
There’s nothing for me to do here, she threw down.
They won’t let me use the laundry. It’s off limits!
I can’t do any cooking, she complained testily.
It’s all provided. But too much and too rich.
Do you call that healthy eating? she demanded.
Lashing out, she accused, People come here to die!
There’s nothing productive in my life anymore.
I can’t even put in my own eye drops, she mourned.
They barge in! Insist on doing it for me.
This may look like a nice place, she said ominously,
but I don’t want you to think I’m happy here.
In a tremulous voice came her last grim reproach,
They’re just stretching out the dying.
first published in Illinois State Poetry Society
©2013 Bonnie Manion