Our Lady of the Seas Nursing Home

Never mind that Ida owns a bait shop
or her crew neck sweat is lettered Surfs Up,
mocking the prongs of her cannula tube.
Now she’s waving at me in the stern of this room.
I’m temporarily beached here, she says
temporarily meaning a cozy blanket hiding the truth
meaning when can I go home?
meaning if only I could shamble along the shore
without sandbags tied to my breath entranced
by ospreys winging through swollen air meaning
how to hold this barely bearable hunger.
I hand her the white bakery bag, the sugar donuts
we both love, mia cara amica.
Ida’s powdery fingers point to the tidal app,
her productive loneliness, where she tracks
rainfalls’ gush, the winds’ gut-shove,
the crowns of tides — even as the tides of her body rise.



Click here to read Vivian Eyre on the origin of the poem.

Image: photo by , licensed under CC 2.0.

Vivian Eyre:

When is a powdered donut more than a powdered donut? This poem is a homage to my 92-year-old friend who died last year after a battle with cancer. That white bakery bag. Sometimes she brought it. Sometimes I did. The sweets encouraged our conversations about loss, the New York Times Book review, our latest read, what she could no longer eat, the risings seas. Often, we’d drive to the beach. The rhythm of the waves soothed her. I took poetic license using the word “beached” as something she’d said. This was my nod to the endangerment of whales, their beaching and connecting that stranding to her endangered health. Nothing tastes the same without her. RIP mia cara amica.

Vivian Eyre
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