Janice trilogy

Janice trilogy


The stroke almost killed her.

We get glimpses of the Janice

we knew and, truthfully,

she is still there.

The lover of music sings,

out of tune.

The joy on her face

makes driving across

the county worth it.

These moments bring

together two women

who shared their lives

in a grandiose home,

hip Northside in the 90s,

us so daring and alive.


Now this lily has wilted;

her heart and kidneys


Our nurse friend told me

she has “6 months or 6 minutes.”

It’s those 6 minutes

that cause me to compulsively

drive over and over

to see Janice one more time.


If I fail to visit and she

leaves, passing on

to another dimension,

will I have failed

to hold her here?

What powers I imagine

music & friendship &

devotion can perform!


Janice is content

with hot food,

3 meals delivered,

visits from family and friends.



She cried when she remembers

being told she will never

leave this place.

From skilled care to

the long-term wing–

how long is long?




You sit in your wheelchair

contentment on your face

as you sing along to

tunes on your IPod.


When I watch you

moving to Michael Jackson,

I remember . . .

you will never dance again.

if you’re lucky, you’ll walk

without a walker.


your head drops.

you nap peacefully

as your mother and I

visit and vow silently

to take better care

of our own health

though there is

no guarantee.


when you awaken,

you tell us you

feel you’re living

in an unreal world.

End of only your

first week

in a nursing home;

rumor is

you might never leave.


You have no privacy.

Even with the door closed,

aides knock but know

they can walk right in

and do whatever they

planned to do.


When you ring the bell,

you never know if

it will take a half hour

for a cup of ice

or a week to trade

your bed for the empty one

beside you with easier controls.


your right hand is swollen;

you learn to use your left

but an IPod is not easy.

you told me to take

it home and just

bring it back every time.


Anyone who saw her face

as she heard those old

Whitney Houston tunes,

anyone, even a penniless stranger,

would want to run right out

and buy one to please her.




how many visits

across town

to the nursing home

do I have?

how many days

of worry?

when it’s time

it’s time, that’s what

people say.

I am not God

but I can try

being bodhisattva,

bringing you gifts

of music and books

and bento boxes

from the Japanese

restaurant you

introduced me to

before your heart

and kidneys began

to fail.



I cry wondering

when my best friend

will fade away.

some day I will

get the call

from your sister

or aunt.

She’s gone,

they’ll say.

But where?


Right into the







One response to “Janice trilogy

  1. Rashma N. Kalsie

    Wonderfully woven emotions. This is ‘heart stuff’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s