Comply – a poem in my father’s voice

I don’t tremble

they assume I’m Katherine Hepburn’s kind

but she and I will always have our Parkinson’s mask of frozen stares.

My shuffling gait halts yet

refuses my wife and caregiver relief

as my mental executor and committee of limbs do not comply.

Falling stiff again

my rib bones crack against unyielding familiar floors.

ER rooms, weigh stations for next stops

decided for me from nodding white coats,

sad, loving eyes agree

my vote was cancelled when I decided

getting up was more than staying down.

Repair at convalescent care rotting with residents

who babble configured memories to crowd-filled nothing,

waving thin purple maps of loose skin, angry at invisible ghosts.

We cannot be friends

their language of fantasia doesn’t translate mine

Yellow dim rooms illuminate green jello while

rooms of televisions never die.

Forgetting rules of motion I shuffle to the bathroom,

bed bell alarms can’t keep me down,

my distant self commands obedience to dignity.

I am polite, complicit, a gentleman pleasing nurses with easier work

but for one who cursed me out loud.

Will and motion are mine until the antiseptic smiles fade,

so I rest for you, for now.

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