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The face of the deep and pine haven nursing home

BY APRIL BULMERY

The poems here refer to my late father's struggles with Alzheimer's and my efforts to care for him and a stone heritage home and small parcel of land he owned near Cambridge, Ontario. The property, like his mind, resisted growth and fecundity. Like a Canadian pioneer, I struggled against the challenges of nature and disease.


THE FACE OF THE DEEP


My father's land
was swamp and soft.
And the pond
home to muskrat and carp.

I could not care for it
nor him, as his mind dimmed,
a slow pool, thick and listless.

Locked in a little ward
he paced like a snail
remembering the smell of the land,
how it clung to his shoes and fingernails.

I lost my father
and the land.
The blue heron,
he left me too.
His wings like soft pleats.

Sometimes I sleep,
whisper with mice and water snakes.
There is a barge
and Dad and I set sail.
Balanced for a time
on the face of the deep.
God moving us
from place to place--
over reeds and their seeds
and through dead leaves,
their veins.


PINE HAVEN NURSING HOME


Da, your mind like a tree
lost its leaves.
A long autumn, you hibernated
before waking suddenly
that winter morn.
God bundled you
in a wool coat and galoshes
singing a little creed.

South then to Brantford
where the Natives
still war
and my love was born.

Da, I imagine it is cold
in the heavens.
You sleep with blankets.
You are warm to dream.

In the spring your spirit
comes to me.
Well again:
your mind an aura
of evergreen.

© April Bulmer 2011

Last Updated: 09/11/12
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