Through an Amorphous Hairnet Veil

that grants permission to serve lunch at the home I peer into the future of meager salads, faded watermelons with pale seeds, thick vanilla pudding for gluing broken things, Spanish rice hints of forgotten exotic adventures, Santa Fe chicken reminds of long ago vacations that catch in your throat

tears served in pallid bowls and platters vaguely reminiscent of their youth

As I sit beside her she tells me about her house and car that they took to pay for her keep in the home the children that live too far away to come for a visit the paper pens and thoughts they stole so she can’t write letters anymore I’m good for something I decorated the Christmas tree planted flowers vegetables smiles but tears come quickly because they sold my house and car

I could still drive in circular stories of colorful flower gardens smiles backyard tomato plants strung with car keys they took away that left a receipt of quick tears

Rice krispies for lunch I like rice krispies in a high pitched mouse like voice with grilled cheese sandwiches spread with ketchup I like grilled cheese with ketchup.

“Eat that,” he demands in the far corner table harsh, perhaps dullened ears don’t hear

perhaps they do as the others at the table slowly slink away. “I don’t want to,” in her faint voice that used to sing opera. “Eat that. I ordered it for you.”

His rough voice demands, forgetting that he once lovingly cajoled her to marry him. He pushes the piece of chicken on fork close to her mouth as she turns away like a child refusing yet another stage on this one way trajectory. Her hair perfectly coiffured her slender fingers that used to bring Bach to life.

Leaving the dining room head bent she sings take me out to the ballgame Take me out with the crowd Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks a house and car keys I don't care if I never get back Let me root, root, root For the home team in flower gardens and tomatoes If they don't win it's a shame Aahh. Rice krispies and grilled cheese For it's one, Spanish rice Two, eat that Three strikes you're out I ordered it for you At the old ball game I don't care if I never get back because I lost the car keys

In the hall he sits in his wheelchair eyes have not lost their life. Says if you have to live in one of these homes, it’s the best kind. No complaints about his 91 years only rheumatism, which he cures with oil. What kind of oil? Come to my room and I’ll show you. We stop in his room where he pulls bottles of lavender, peppermint from his memory. Photos of grandchildren on the wall. Bulletin from his wife’s memorial service eight years ago on the dresser like it was yesterday photo in her beautiful youth juxtaposed with the beauty of her wrinkles a keyboard he doesn’t play anymore.

{I stuff the hairnet into my pocket as I go home and for now close the door on the inevitable amorphous veil.}

#visualart #poetry

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