Leona snores in the next bed

Mom’s ninety-nine year old roommate

Totally deaf which at first was a plus

We didn’t have to worry about waking her if we talked loud

We could turn up Mom’s TV.


But recently Mother has stopped talking

Lost all interest in Turner Classic Movies

Not sure if she can even see the screen anymore.


The clock over Leona’s bed has read two forty-five for the past month

On Mom’s wall hangs the sweet pink wreath we made together

Last Valentines Day with the activities specialist

Rosy-looking flowers made by dipping coffee filters into red food coloring.


Leona and Pearl, Room 210 Beds A and B

Both completely dependent

For bathing, dressing, getting in and out of wheelchairs

And lately for eating their pureed meals.


Sometimes I wonder if they might have become friends

Talked or laughed together

Under different circumstances

If they were of sound mind

Could have been kind of fun.


With their coordinated floral bedspreads and valences

Matching easy chairs

Maple dressers topped with

Hummel figurines, photos of

Graduations, weddings

A great grandson’s first haircut.


But they are strangers to one another

Despite the intimate quarters they share

Unable to offer each other companionship or comfort

During this most delicate, protracted season.


Poem by Joan Boonin

Image by Jason Pratt