Downstairs at 3 AM with frozen French Fries
stuffed down the back of my jammies and
tightly pressed between chair back and spine.
Yesterday, when the pains in my lower back
ran rampant and I was too stiff to bend,
I lay on my back in bed, begging you for help.
Seventy-two hours flat on my back with my feet
on a chair did nothing to improve my temper.
I thought of my mother lying hopeless,
of my father being dressed, washed, shaved,
cared for as if his return to a second child-
hood was accompanied by a necessary
humiliation, a lowering of every inhibition
that gives a man his manhood and allows him
a minimum of dignity. Lying there, helpless,
my feet stretched out before me, I saw my
future as if it were an endless pack of ice
barring the horizon, groaning when I moved.
I must learn to lean on the closest shoulder.
This is really love, my love, your gentle hands
pulling sock over foot and ankle, lacing my shoes,
standing by my side, letting me lean on your arm,
refusing to discard me in my time of trouble.