Along the wooden courtyard fence

red and yellow poppies circle

newly staked saplings; above it,

power lines angle over a brown hill.

At one window Earl slumps dazed,

his mute frown tightening

as Judith stammers with each step

in a language with no words.

Harry claps his thigh to call

a sheep dog no one else can see,

Margie whines again, “I’m scared.

Will you hold my hand?”

There’s a woman who paddles

wheelchair circles in stocking feet,

muttering her mantra

of “No.  No.  No…”

And on a sofa in the dayroom an old lover

yearns to have her eyes upon him;

a daughter kneeling at her father’s feet

prays to hear him say her name once more.

Dressed in jogging gear and sneakers

the dispossessed suffer their purgatories

to Mozart on a tape deck, wondering

if that was lunch or dinner.

You can visit them anytime.

Turn right at the end of the main hall

and follow the Arcadia Unit signs.

The door code is 3 2 1 zero.



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