Walking Past the Park at the VA Hospital
Bits of color flash in the palm, fingers tighten, loosen twist and twitch in nervous candor
Something in brown and tremulous hands held airily or softly or in fear of breakage
Hands sit, not quiet in the lap, the nails white, now moving over a silver chair arm
One to reach past the stumps and test the black wheels, gripping chrome and squeezing
Power in the tendons, but one to stay and squeeze the bits of color paper
Now, the wheels move in arcs the arms in piston pumps and here the paper falls
We run to catch it – pick it up, give it back –
the chair is circling and we see it as he speaks
Drab and wretched persons near a wall,
children in the dirt and soldiers tall, smiling, armed
A wartime thought that looks like every grey miserable abject sorry picture of a war
Two soldiers, proud, brown and khaki clothes that say
America, smiles proclaiming youth
Our acquaintance in the chair is tall, ignoring the people and the children, but happy.
The chair has found its power sliding graceful to our feet, and not reaching but speaking
It is a test, how can we learn to move but never walk, to ride the arms and scorn pity
It is a test to learn acceptance and every day I print a new copy of the old picture……..
The chair it spun agile and adroit – we gasped and then was gone in bright daylight
We continue walking shamefully, sunlit skies are not the color of awkward guilt
At home we find we lost the picture, oh well, no sepia war here. White wine, trout bleu.