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Losing It All

J. Hugh MacDonald
From:   Looking For Mother. Windsor, Ontario: Black Moss Press, 1995. Pp.27-28


The mailbox is central
to keeping control.
You are retired
there is no job
and your pension cheque
comes by mail.
Either you can look after yourself
or someone else does
it's as simple as that.
Once you leave your home
and get out from under
parental thumbs
you board in other people's houses
fresh thumbs
convent schools with nun's thumbs
then a husband's thumb
and children's thumbs
and you just get a place by yourself
after the kids are gone
and Reg slipped quietly away
one night in his La-z-boy
and you notice that you can't remember something
a name, a place, a book, a recipe you used all your life.
You write out lists—birthdays, names, everything—
it's a matter of survival.
You have asthma
and you fear the hospital
the drugs there—Halcyon, and the steroids—
stir you up
push you over the edge.
One day they take you for a Cat Scan
and when you know they know
you panic and run away
attack two huge orderlies.
They take you to Unit Nine
you know what that is
and you try to run again
the drugs make you lie
curled in a ball in bed
and shake with nightmares
about how you've lost it all.



J. Hugh MacDonald's works copyright © to the author.


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