December 17, 2009

Igor and Snowflakes

I work in a hospital;

and a friend sent me a poem

after hearing me discuss

the ugly and beautiful

side of familes

in hospitals

during the holidays.

Her Long Illness

Daybreak until nightfall

he sat by his wife at the hospital

while chemotherapy dripped

through the catheter into her heart.

He drank coffee and read

the Globe.

He paced, he worked

on poems, he rubbed her back

and read aloud.

Overcome with dread

they wept and affirmed

their love for each other, witlessly,

over and over again.

When it snowed one morning Jane gazed

at the darkness blurred

with flakes.

They pushed the IV pump

which she called Igor

slowly past the nurses' pods,

as far

as the outside door

so that she could smell the snowy air.

(By Donald Hall

From a collection compiled by Garrison Keillor)