When the music's playing,
I hope you're dancing;
I hope you crank up the volume,
kick off your shoes,
and have the time of your life!
— Oprah Winfrey
Poems on Passing
MEADOWBROOK NURSING HOME
On our last visit, when Lucy was fifteen
And getting creaky herself,
One of the nurses said to me,
"Why don't you take the cat to Mrs. Harris' room
— poor thing lost her leg to diabetes last fall —
she's ninety, and blind, and no one comes to see her."
The door was open. I asked the tiny woman in the bed
if she would like me to bring Lucy in, and she turned her head
toward us. "Oh, yes, I want to touch her."
"I had a cat called Lily — she was so pretty, all white.
She was with me for twenty years, after my husband died too.
She slept with me every night — I loved her very much.
It's hard, in here, since I can't get around."
Lucy was settling in on the bed.
"You won't believe it, but I used to love to dance.
I was a fool for it! I even won contests.
I wish I had danced more.
It's funny, what you miss when everything.....is gone."
This last was a murmur. She'd fallen asleep.
I lifted the cat
from the bed, tiptoed out, and drove home.
I tried to do some desk work
but couldn't focus.
I went downstairs, pulled the shades,
put on Tina Turner
and cranked it up loud
and I danced.
— Alice N. Persons
from Don't Be A Stranger. © Sheltering Pines Press, 2007.