Susan McMaster | Ottawa, ON | LCP member for 25 years


Sign of Respect

Afraid she’s fallen or had a stroke
when she doesn’t answer my knock,
I have the nurse unlock her door,
ignoring with a daughter’s disdain
the clearly written post-it note –
“Do Not Disturb”
in her school-teacher hand –
stuck above the knob

And can only laugh
with surprise and a kind of
relief and delight
to see two bare bodies
half rise on the bed,
as I step in.

“Sorry! – ” I back out fast.

Who gave me the right
to breach a shut door?

What made me sure
age had smothered that flame?

I may be losing my memory, but it’s a discriminating memory.
I have things you will never know – no matter what I remember or
forget. There are places in my mind where you can never go.

 

* * *
© Susan McMaster, from Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me (Black Moss, 2010).

* * *
Susan McMaster
, VP of the League and 25-year member, is the author of 12 poetry collections. She divides her time between Minasville, Nova Scotia, and Ottawa, Ontario. This poem from Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me (Black Moss) is followed by a comment from her mother Betty.

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5 Responses to Susan McMaster | Ottawa, ON | LCP member for 25 years

  1. What a moment, captured here!
    Aging in all its glory impacts in so many ways.

  2. penn kemp says:

    Love this poem; truly an AHA moment. Or rather, WHOOPS:). Brilliantly captured, in all its complexity.

  3. Susan McMaster says:

    thanks all, I’m proud of my mother still (and always)
    Sue

  4. Carol Stephen says:

    A poem of poignancies that leaves me rather wordless. Well done, Susan!

    Carol

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