Susan J. Wurtzburg
Bio Note: I live in Hawaii, where I write, and run my editing business (Sandy Dog Books LLC), in between water sports, hiking, and socializing online, while I wait for the pandemic to diminish. Recent poetry appears in Bindweed Magazine, Hawai‘i Pacific Review, and Quince Magazine. I belong to the Rat’s Ass Review Writing Group.
A shell of a man, not as pretty as the phrase. Rather than a pearlescent, rosy nautilus, instead a bombed-out brain. Bleary eyesight like the mollusk, blue eyes track movement uneasily. Murmured caring tones mere noise to his ears. Few words emitted through chapped lips, mostly “No.” My father’s clock has lost its winding mechanism, with a reset to basic wants. One hand hard clamped on bed railing, the other limply rests. No muscle strength for a signature, let alone the mental will. This present catastrophe never envisaged by the former businessman. Yellow-taloned feet, lizard-like appendages, a dry desert of skin, needing lotion. Angry arms wave, drowns in his bed, hisses. “Leave me alone.” Parent without memory of caring for the child. Loving touch, vision, words, all fail miserably. Little of my father remains within his carapace. I read the Wordsworth title, “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” This gaunt man mutters “Daffodils.”
A Room Full of Dead Relatives
Tea-time arrival. I hadn’t expected to see them again, especially not en masse. What to say? I’m glad you made it back from the grave? How did you move the dirt? Or, just ignore the situation, since that is typical of this family. Yes, the best plan. Aunt Carol argues with Uncle Bill, pays no heed to death parting them. Cousin Kay tips tea cup high, ignores Darjeeling dripping down her ribs. Do they not realize the strange anomaly of visiting me, when I am alive? I pass the cupcakes, consider one, but wait, I am so thin. Trousers sag off my hips, phalanges root me to the floor. Oh no, I have joined my dead relatives, rather than them haunting me.
©2021 Susan J. Wurtzburg
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