I don’t tremble, but they assume I’m Katherine Hepburn’s kind.
We share our Parkinson’s frozen mask, expressionless, involuntary
deceit of emotion.
My shuffling gait halts while I calibrate my balance, refusing my wife’s arm
even as my committee of limbs won’t comply.
Stiffening, my six-foot body cracks against the shower door that night.
Cubes of blunt glass explode. I am bare, crooked. Fetal once again.
ER, rehab, my life choreographed by nodding white coats and
sad, loving eyes who agree my vote was canceled when I decided
broken bones are less painful than broken will.
Another convalescent home of rotting minds. Residents babble
memories to air friends, waving hands, awaiting responses, angry on
Tuesday at invisible ghosts. Giddy on Saturday for no reason.
We can’t be friends. Their muddled language won’t translate to my in between brain of clarity +
Hallways of dark rooms illuminate green Jello and blinking televisions
that never die. Patients moan inside trapped familial despair and locked
Forgetting my new rules of motion, I shuffle to the bathroom. My bed
alarm rings, but my former self demands obedience to dignity above all.
I am polite, but I will move without your permission. I am polite, but you
will not own me. I’m a favorite among nurses except for one who cursed
me for moving on my own.
Will and motion are mine. But soon I will sit still for you my love, my wife.
But only because you plead. Only because I still remember what
pleading means. Only because your pain is worse than mine.