Saturday, March 29, 2008

Poem for Today

What Will Not Caring Feel Like?

I trembled very gently inside,
When the old man with a stroke,
Told me “thank you” in his own language.

He didn’t know if I understood,
But he said it anyway.
Saying it so quietly, like a sleeper’s sigh.

I knew what he said.

I did nothing but help him put his shirt on,
Dragging his dead arm through a coarse, sun-yellow shirt,
Tugging on a ragged, pilled sleeve,
I persuaded his crooked and stiff arm through.

I wonder when I will stop feeling…

How will I know I don’t care anymore?
Perhaps when I won’t have to wipe my eyes,
Blinking in the glaring whiteness of the hospital bathroom,
Pretending allergies or yawning is making me sniffle.

Maybe I won’t have to try to be harsh and cold then,
Because I really am.

Could it be, that I will always care, and be sad,
Grieving these patients’ loss for them?

But now…on this day…the man in yellow looks like a grandfather,
And I wish I didn’t feel.

February 2008


Anonymous said...

Hey Army Poet. I hope you don't stop caring, although I can certainly understand the desire to reach that state.

Keep up the fight, you're an inspiration.


Winlock said...

You've always cared too much- but that's what makes you a lovely poet, a good friend, and a kind man.
Stay safe.
Your friends in Colorado