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
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