Monday, November 15, 2010

Surcease of pain? / Poem: A Sunday Drive

I do I do I do have an appt to see the back doctor. Tomorrow. Problem is, ladies and gentleman, my delicate teetering-on-the-edge kidneys may not be able to handle a shot. We shall see.

During my sciatica I've watched innumerable movies including the Clint Eastwood film A Perfect World. During the film one of the characters mentioned "a Sunday drive."

Ah, I said to myself. That'll be my next poem. Just read it to my friend Carolyn who gave it her approval.


I see a man in a wheelchair
As I pull in the drive
Sitting on the patio in the sun
Geraniums oblivious
Blanket covering bony knees
Strap him in the front seat
kiss his stubbled cheek
note his newly bald head
I’ve never said I love you and
Wonder if the words will come out
As I back down the drive
He no longer speaks
Is leaving the world bit by bit
Chagrin Falls is too far I tell him
Eight hours away and I can’t read maps
But Pennsylvania has nice views too
We’ll go to the lake
Water, they say, is healing
Where are his eyes?
We pass the blue water tower I
Always look for
Does Dad see it?
My friend Ilga lived nearby I say
We worked together at the newspaper
She was the most successful ad seller
The paper had
Once I read dad an article I wrote
On Bullock’s Junk Yard in Warrington
A bore, pronounced dad, who was neither
Tactful nor dishonest
What you look for when going to the lake
Is what you look for at the movies
The first moment Elizabeth Taylor takes the stage
Only this time it’s the blue of Lake Galena
Blue like Dan’s eyes

It’s a blue lake today
Not gray or muddy brown
The sun has cast it thus
We pull in and I cantilever Dad
Into his wheelchair
The only thing that distinguishes him
From a dead man
Is his eyes which alight on me like
I'm a quenching glass of water

I push him along the sidewalk
Then begin to run
Perhaps the blue heron will be out today
Or the eagle guarding his chicks in his nest
We take the pier
The water shivers below
Gently like tossing a basketball
Into the net
I push the wheelchair
Over the edge and watch him sink
His bald pate the last thing I see
The last memory I have of the man who
Was my father for all of thirty-four years
The man who taught his little Ruthie to type
When I was only eight years old
A Jewish Marine who loved his Bernice
And fathered six children
Walking slowly back to the car
I remember our life together
As if I too have drowned with the man
And then buckle him back in his seat
And drive home.


  1. This poem is very powerful. I need time to digest it and to read again, but wow!
    The one before it I am not getting so definitely want to read it some more and take it in, let it roll around in my head and sit for a while.

  2. thanks, iris. my almost poetry teacher (class got canceled due to lack of students) wrote me the following:
    man you wanna talk about fraught with possibilities? You've laid out
    the theme now elaborate: what i might do first is cut down on
    descriptive details dont use up the reader's energies or he-she-it''ll
    be too worn out to grasp the ending. (Not sure the 34 yrs is clear
    maybe doesnt have to be?) maybe you could get away with a little more
    on "Quickly" if you didn't take quite so long getting to Lake Galena