For My Mother

August 14, 2012

My heels clicked loudly and echoed
as I traversed down the long, narrow hallway.

The smell was stifling;
sterile and cold
The walls
as grey as soiled socks
The light’s unpleasant brightness was
intensified by its murmur.

Each machine has an audible personality—
one a low groan
another a piercing howl
a third a thunderous hiss of air in perfect increments–
expand, contract, expand.

The bed oscillates with a loud hum,
back and forth, back and forth
like waves on the ocean if they could all be the same.

Her head is haloed in metal but she looks far from celestial;
the rods poke at her brain;
her arms swell like blow-fish
blue and green,
stabbed with thin, steel pins.

Her mouth is muffled with technology,
and her body from neck down is as loose as slip.

In time her legs will be round with spokes—
her backpack will lap against the back of her vehicle
with each crack in the cement.

And I,
I will walk along side, and watch her struggle with
calloused hands down the tilted sidewalk.


This poem was written by Jennifer Lane-Landolt, after her mother was injured in 1984 at age 44.

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One response to “For My Mother”

  1. Larry Willis says:

    This is a beautiful and poignant poem. I have been a c5 quad since 1971 and the images and feelings of this poem ring so true. My parents were 40 yrs. old at the time. The hurt and sadness that I inflicted upon them was nearly as painful as the injury. I am now 60 and the ravages of age become more apparent every day. My thanks to the author for capturing the essence of loss and sad resignation.

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