Dogs 2012

TOOTHLESS ADMONITION
(2/22/12)


I hear
voices
behind me
in the hallway
of the nursing
home

"this room
Mary Lou?

do you
know someone
in here?"

some
inarticulate
mumbling
follows

I continue
talking
to my grandmother
who is oblivious
to any external
commotion

I glance
sideways
toward the door
and see
a young Latina
pushing what
I could only describe
as an old
disheveled hag
in a wheelchair

a decrepit
creature
neck bent back
eyes wild
and panning
through
stringy
hair falling
down into
her face

she seemed
the archetypical
possessed soul
from the most
disturbing
of horror shows

"this man
Mary Lou?

are you
sure?"

I tell
my grandmother
to excuse me
for a moment
get up
and walk
to the hall

"she
thinks
that she knows
you"

the young
woman tells
me

no teeth
or dentures
the miscreant slobbers
and spits
around fattened
tongue

"GET OUT!

I want you
to leave

NOW!"

my senses
numbed
from hours
of repetitive
conversation
I merely stare
at this misbegotten
troll
on wheels

what
could
I do?

"I'm
so sorry"

the attendant
stammers

"I really
thought
that she knew
you"

I tell her
that it's OK
and I return
to the chair
at my grandmother's side
where she continues
to speak
as if
I had never
left

leaving
that evening
I spot Mary Lou
parked along the wall
near the nurses'
station

I lean
to her side
and in my most
proper English
say

"I shall be back
for your miserable
soul
this very night
my dear"

her shrieks
escorted me
out
of the building

perhaps
she did
know me
after all