Wilda Morris

Parkinson’s Poems

Dinner with Dad

I pull my hands
off the table,
lay them
in my lap.

They want to reach out,
take the bread
and table knife
from Dad’s grizzled hands.

It hurts to watch
his painstaking moves,
the way the glob of jelly
slides without spreading,
threatens to fall
in his lap.

My head says
he needs to do what he can.
My hands say,
please, let me help.

Rubin Sandwich

At a sidewalk table
at the Artists’ Café
in Chicago, the city
where Mother & Dad
honeymooned,
I think of them
as I study the menu,
remember Mother’s love
of salads but today
in honor of Dad
I order a Rubin.

Corned beef reminds me
of corny TV—
Three Stooges
made Dad laugh;
rye bread for his
wry sense of humor;
sauerkraut for the tart
tender memories
of his last years,
the long slow decline
of Parkinson’s,
the way he retained
a cheerful demeanor
and always, to the end,
concern for others.

Christmas Pageant
for Florrie

Joseph sat in silence by the manger
where baby Jesus lay
wrapped in white bands.
Mary showed all the excitement
of young motherhood,
kicked her fragile, palsied legs,
waved stiff arms.
Joy rose from deep within her—
eyes sparkling, smile broadening,
she giggled,
waved and kicked strongly,
then laughed aloud
and in that family called church,
joy spread. It was said,
never has there been a happier Mary.

“Christmas Pageant” was first published in A Quilt of Holidays (Abeline TX: Silver Boomer Books, 2012).

Crayling Creek

The old creek bed is almost dry,
just puddles among brown leaves,
piles of twigs and rocks,

like Dad, once a nurturing stream,
now a small pool of memory
in the detritus of Parkinson’s disease,
feet like dead leaves,
his fingers, twisted twigs.

Sometimes he rises from his chair
and walks. Sometimes his laugh
reflects joy in the pool of his eyes.

Like robins at the creek bed,
I stop and drink.

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