Cyndi K. Gacosta
Francine - Poem by Cyndi K. Gacosta
To Francine's eyes at 95 years old and aging
There is one hour in one minute, one day in one hour
One month in one week, and one year in one eternity.
The seasons, to her at 95 years old, do not matter.
There will always be summer and fall then winter and spring
As it was and is and always will be to her.
Each day lasts a week and blends into the next.
At 8am, she takes from her purple pillbox with a half-empty glass of water:
Calcium for bones, lanoxin for irregular heart rhythms,
Quinapril for blood pressure and levothyroxine for a thyroid disorder
Then back to bed, irritated that the commode had not been emptied.
Then stares at the ceiling waiting, simply because she can't go back to sleep.
At 9am she has breakfast.
At 1pm she has lunch.
At 5pm she has dinner.
Each meal lasts one day in one hour,
And each meal rolls over to the next with one mile of silence
And one mile of distance between her and the caretaker.
Francine speaks English and is fluent in Yiddish and German
But the caretaker across from her, face hidden behind the flowers on the table
Like the border fence between San Diego and Tijuana,
like the desert between the two cities, speaks only Spanish.
Then comes the long wait on the couch not for her daughter
Who might now be in Florida, or Maryland or is it Switzerland?
Four days in four hours on the couch not for her son
Who might now be in Connecticut, or did he say once on the phone
Russia? China? Somewhere far and she's halfway deaf.
She waits for the clock to tell her it's 8: 30pm
Then she prepares for bed and from her purple pillbox she takes
With a half-empty glass of water:
Calcium for bones, donepezil hydrochloride for memories,
Stool softener, and warfarin for prevention of heart attacks
Then back to bed in a new diaper, new sheets, and an empty commode
Then shuts her eyes waiting to see if this one night will be one eternity
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