words #20


Now is the only moment that matters.
I come here again and again,
sit in the same faded blue chair
by the foot of her bed,
open my book,
my Kindle,
my iPad
and pretend to read.
I know all the nurses.
Patients, families, doctors
come and go.
I come and go.
Now is the only moment that matters.
Now the evening nurse enters, brisk and kind,
and performs the routine checks.
Now my cousin brings me soup, butternut squash,
and chats, works on her laptop, passes time.
Now I stand and stretch and go downstairs,
get a coffee, black, scorching, not as strong as I’d like.
Now she sleeps, blinks, kicks, opens her eyes,
and now I open her laptop and we watch the live camera feed
of the cheetah cubs at the Richmond zoo. Now she watches them attentively,
she smiles, she tries to point her hand, she forgets she watched them yesterday,
and the day before, and the day before that, every day is new, every day she smiles
at the clumsy fluff cubs, every day she wonders where the mother is, every day
she tries to count the cubs and I help her count the cubs and she is surprised
there are so many, every day she nods to acknowledge their awkward steps,
she wants to know their names, she tries to name them. Every day
she watches the cubs for the first time.
Now is the only moment that matters.

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