My Mother Takes Inventory In Her Nursing Home Room

by Pat Durmon
Mother clings to things in her room:
   color TV, disconnected
   radio but no grasp for turning it on or off
   dusty stereo untouched for years
   the urine and antiseptic air
   comb, hairbrush, empty perfume bottles
   a flowery border peeling near the ceiling
   two lipstick tubes that know her lip shape
   deodorant unused
   four boxes of lavender bath powder
   a bona fide philodendron
   crafts, awards and photos on the wall
   banana, black and hardened like an okra pod
   costume jewelry and stacked newspapers.

But things disappear from here:
   clothing that hangs on hangers
   a wedding ring quilt
   hair-curlers in a blue overnight case
   Christmas tree, Christmas village
   Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

Hard for her to keep up with things:
when I’m here visiting, my mother
cannot find a pencil, notepad, hammer,
a marker for clothes, scissors, needle or thread.
So it makes perfectly good sense to her
to carry her eight-dollar wad, coupons for bingo
and her late husband’s watch
in a pouch inside her flagging brassiere.

she has not disappeared.
And she declares, “They won’t take me alive.”
Pat Durmon lives with her husband in the Ozark Mountains.  She is retired from the mental-health counseling world and writes poetry for the same reason old men whittle.  Writing words helps her heal broken pieces, and she does love the miracles found in the daily journey.  She also enjoys flower-gardening.

© 2009, Pat Durmon