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Lament


ISSUE:  Autumn 1998

There is no Spring in Michigan this year.
I should know. I am visiting the unfamiliar

sitting down to dinner in the nursing home
with my parents, every night and out of time—

Spring will come later, after Fall or never.
The weatherman announced it yesterday. No matter.

What he doesn’t know is the temperature in here
where nothing grows, remains too hot for hothouse flowers.

Last year there was Spring; my parents were talking
of the future, a trip south; they were still walking

without walkers; they had an interest in food,
music, flowers, their remaining friends, the news.

This year has come out of sequence; it is Old Age
and Death announcing itself in his tutelage.

It is silence that follows my questions and lapses
in such words as appear; it is bedpans and capsules,

exhaustion and pajamas and sleeplessness,
and my mother curled up like a kitten to rest

on the sofa, my father nodding over his broth
which I have spooned out and must eat for them both.

Once I have them in bed I retreat to the television
neither can hear—my friend, my companion

in this little world I’ve come back to again,
still their son, the year when Spring skips Michigan.

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