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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Carol Pearce-Worthington


Afternoon at the VA hospital I leave my husband in a waiting room for his next appointment and bring him a $2 coffee then line up to buy his medication and while I’m gone he falls asleep the coffee spills and puddles under his feet so when I return I retrieve paper towels one at a time out of the automatic dispenser in the ladies room and mop up the warm liquid and wipe off his sandals. A loudspeaker indistinctly calls his name as my husband comes out of the bathroom his eyes widening with fear when he cannot see me until I speak his name and guide him to the exam room where the osteo surgeon dismisses his shoulder dislocation from a street attack as an “eyesore” about which he can do nothing so then I hoist my backpack still holding the lunch he refuses to eat and I shepherd him to the elevators and we slowly make our way outside to sit on a low cement wall in the July breeze and wait for an Access-A-Ride vehicle that will take us home.

summer day
the fruit seller slips
out of his sandals

When the car comes, 45 minutes late, I buckle up my husband in back then climb in beside the driver and for a few brief moments do nothing but look around as we pass the East River before entering a tunnel.

uptown exhaust
a bus-wide ad for
mary poppins