Time is honey dripping off
a crust of bread,
Gumming up the works, slowing down the chew,
Sweetening the sour cream-white-coated tongue
That licks his fingers. He wipes them on the spread.
She folds it over. He smiles. She smiles too.
Come on, let's get you up for a good long
Look at the day. She pulls the blinds. The bed
Floods with a blinding light. His lips are blue.
A morning in March, snow melt, sunshine strong
Enough to lift him. He's nodding his head—
He approves. She undoes his bib. Now who
Wants to swallow his pill? Who indeed? Young
As she is, she feels in her bones how the old
Hold onto life. He's taken her hand: "My girl."
John Perrault is the author
of Jefferson's Dream, The Ballad of the Declaration of Independence (Hobblebush
Books, 2009); The Ballad of Louis Wagner and other New England Stories in Verse
(Peter Randall Publisher, 2003); and Here Comes the Old Man Now
(Oyster River Press, 2005). He was a co-recipient of the Rosalie
Boyle/Norma Farber Award, 2008, from the New England Poetry Club; a finalist in
the 2007 Comstock Review Poetry Contest; and a past recipient of the
Virginia Prize from The Lyric Magazine. His poetry has
appeared in the Salmon Poetry anthology, Dogs Singing, The Christian
Science Monitor, Commonweal, Poet Lore and elsewhere. A New Hampshire
attorney, John was poet laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2003-2005.
Sample his poems and songs at www.johnperrault.com.