Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Highlands at Brighton



I.

We, who count on nothing
open narrow blinds to lengthening day
measure minutes free from pain
seize laughter, bingo, puzzles, cards
ravenous as winter birds
snatching seeds from snow


II.

Strange rumblings at night
from above where dementia lives
frighten Barbara, at unit’s end, awake
are they tormented or tormentors?


3 a.m. cartoon Inuyasha
slays 15th century demons
again and again, comforting me

Physical Therapy at The Highlands III




This self proclaimed Latin King

flaunts his rule bending

“I am mucho macho” Jose grins

as patients struggle to follow

his dictates: more, once more, again

always requiring they push past

limitations. He always has the last

word at home. We guess ”yes dear”

as he is both chef and bus boy,

knows how to cajole and distract

us from our pain, our fear, that

long mouthed grin pushes arroz cheeks

against ancient frijoles negros eyes

watching grown ups toddle, twist

and sway, recalling what yesterday

yielded and what tomorrow can bring:

strength. If not sun, then surely his smile



Akua Lezli Hope

Monday, May 29, 2006

PT at The Highlands II

PT at The Highlands

II


You think you understand the young man’s frustration

How to find the one in 5,7,9 figures after jazzing in 4s

This patient had just one knee surgery. Cried before,

today she sighs, sweeps her wool wrapped foot from side to side,

her stiff leg straight before her, glides.

She seeks approval, bats mascara’d eyes: Better. He agrees

No more tears. You must relax. You need to try.

This redheaded bunny can hop away

over those unable to stand, who tip, waver, sway

barely lift limp arms, heads lolling, tanks,

ventilators whispering near, those frozen, stuck

on the down beat, waiting to dethaw, like you.




Akua Lezli Hope

PT at The Highlands I: Not Helping




Linda makes 40 reps 80

10 pushups at 5 seconds become

10 pushups at 10 seconds

hold your body in the air

lift your butt off the wheelchair

your small hands redden

blister, cramp, ache

Linda suggests leather gloves

helps by not helping

they must learn to manage

more than pen, brush, fork

bottle cap, they must become

levers, hoists, hoyer lifts

10 more, 10 more, again

arms must learn to carry

your blue freight



Akua Lezli Hope

No Young People Here




Does the brown man with slumped face stare?
One round eye fixed, one puffed slit slants
Still, in institution blues, sits in brake-locked wheelchair
His swollen head most times upright may nod by chance


One round eye fixed, one puffed slit slants
Parked in too bright halls, always in view
His swollen head upright most times may nod by chance
How did his body fail? Why does he look at you?


Parked in too bright halls, always in view
His slight distortion disturbing as his ubiquity
How did his body fail? Why does he look at you?
Roll by quickly, stomach wrenched, try not to see


this ugly state may be better than you
Still, in institution blues, sits in brake-locked wheelchair
stroked, he may rise soon, may walk, as you yearn to do
Does the brown man with slumped face stare?



Akua Lezli Hope