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Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Disrupted Life (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

I bought some buns and bread at the local bakery
And met our elderly neighbour Frau Nelles
She looked well-dressed and walked with a careful gait,
Up the Pochgasse having done her errands.
She greeted in German with ‘Guten morgen.’
Sighed and said, ‘ Wissen Sie,
I feel a wave of sadness sweep over me’
‘Why? ’ I asked.
‘Today is our wedding anniversary.’

‘Is it that bad? ’ I whispered.

‘Yes, ’ she replied.
‘My husband just stares at me and says nothing,
And has that blank expression on his face.
This isn’t the optimistic, respected philology professor
I married thirty years ago.

He forgets everything.
Our birthdays, the anniversaries of our children, the seasons.
My husband has Alzheimer.
Es tut so weh!
Our double bed isn’t a bed of roses anymore,
It’s a bed of thorny roses.
I snatch a couple of hours of sleep,
When I can.

I don’t have a husband now,
I have a child,
That needs caring day and night.
I’ve become apprehensive.
I’m concerned when he coughs
Or when he stops to breathe.
He snores again,
And keeps me awake.
Has prostrate problems,
And is fragile.
Like Shakespeare aptly said:
Care keeps his watch in every old (wo) man’s eye,
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie.

Neither can I live with myself,
Nor can I bring him to a home.
Satis Shroff
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