I push you in your chair,
Bringing you back again to where I found you
Curled up and alone.
I remember I sat in the pew beside you.
Your solitude made me uncomfortable.
I stayed through the day until I was sure you were not lost but
Then wheeled you home.
You flop your head.
I present a shoulder.
Your mouth flinches,
You stare blankly,
But I bring you here each day to hear them sing,
To You oh Lord I lift my soul,
To You I lift my soul.
Your arm falls.
I lift it back into your lap
And smooth your long blond hair.
You were well groomed when I found you.
Someone must have loved you
I wash you on the bed with a towel.
Your body is heavy to turn.
I grind your meals
And push them down your throat with my fingers.
I dress you, my doll.
I used to put you before the TV
But your face would turn to the window like a plant to the sun.
I trim your nails, your hair.
I change your diapers,
For whom do you bleed?
I talk to you but
I don’t know who it is you hear.
You are voiceless.
Did you ever sing?
When you look into my eyes it is because
I have placed myself before you.
Your eyes look capped,
Dark frozen seas.
Nothing goes in or out anymore.
Did they ever really look into another’s eyes?
What did they see last?
What made them stop looking?
I don’t know what you long for.
I don’t know what you lost.
I don’t know why God preserves you but
To teach me the end of love.
Ruth Ruth O’Toole is the author of Otsu and Other Poems, published by Bronze by Gold Press, and available at amazon.com. Her novel Clarissa@Loveless.com was published serially through classicnovels.com in 2002, and can now be read online in its entirety at www.clarissa.loveless.com. Ms. O’Toole earned her MA in English at NYU in 1990. She lives in Morristown, New Jersey, with her husband and three children, and is currently working on a forthcoming novel about the influence of sex and celibacy on women artists.