Poem Marathon Submission #6

Lost and Redemption of a Life
Ann WJ White

Awakening the morning, waiting for it to rise,
I follow a small tortiseshelled cat to her breakfast,
carefully apportioned puree of chicken
served on a glass dish, glistening.
She is the reason for rising, for dancing,
for singing a song of the past. For when
she has fed, her dreams begin to scatter the
dreams I failed to dream. She chases them,
rounding them up, toying with them, until I 
sigh with frustration and join her.

There are no appointments, not this time.
No eyes to watch, no tasks to be designated to me.
Here the clouds fill the sky with tale strong
clouds, bright blue sky, and the sun at the right 
angle to tease the flowers into bloom. We sit, the two
of us, talking of birds, frogs and small skinks.
The outside walks past us, children riding scooters,
Strollers, bikes, and the others in the neighborhood
who share patience for time to pass.

The phone is silent. The TV ignored. Paints stand
near a canvas, looking coy. Books are everywhere,
Each shouting an advertisement until one is lifted and
the cover opened. Sinking into a soft couch with
Cat sitting on my chest, we read together. She purrs.
Time passes. The paints trip me when I find a need 
to rise. It is their turn, and spill out like the
flowers in my front bed. An orange is peeled and
insanity seeks my attention. A wishy cloud of something
takes form. A woods, a water, a story, it spins around.

It stands upside down on its canvass, shouting
"Try this now, or this, be upside down and see."
And I do see, a conglomeration fantasy. The brushes
move faster and faster until it is lunch. A simple day,
a simple sandwich, hardly a mind set to enjoy it
before it is gone. Wandering upstairs, I pause to nap.
Seeking the dreams from long ago, the memories pass.
Stirring against boredom, Cat bites my eyebrows and
sets me back upon my path. Mysteriously, the laundry
has vanished. Something is standing outside of time.

I take the drugs upon the table, and go out.
A camera hangs from a strap as Cat pushes the door shut.
So I wander, down to the swampy park, there to find 
a pair of beaver, small fish frolicking over bits of 
broken branches, drowned grass, and an old "No Dumping"
sign. The heron pause and watch the water, fishing 
intensively. Crows mock me, small sparrows chirp
and clean their nesting spots. I am alone here.
This is not reality. My life does not move in smooth
lines without contrasts and complications. Never.

Walking back, I hear voices calling out for ice cream.
I shrug past them. My heart echoes with empty thoughts,
but no drive. There is banging coming from inside my house.
The parallel emptiness has been invaded with cause.
I turn and walk away, quickly, with agitation.
But stop, when a dear friend sees me. She is alone,
surrounded by time, pandemics, busy children lost to work.
It is her smile that captures me, her love, her open
life as she moves one foot after another. The chat fills
time, and somehow valued by me. I plan a surprise cake.

Turning back to my home, the cat has gotten out on the roof.
She's howling madly, annoyed that I have forgotten my duty,
It is time to feed the cat, again, the same as it all is.
Now it is all different. Sound, industry, purring and yowling.
Entering the house, my son kneels in the hallway, building
a wooden floor as I have always wanted. My daughter is scrubbing
bathrooms. My husband has taken his father out to walk,
A break from my resentment of the old man. And the phone
rings, unmerciful it screams for attention. Stops and begins again.
There is an ethereal sense to it, this hounding.

This is not right, all out of place, purpose confused.
I answer the phone and my life changes. A moment of 
spinning choice and test results. The voice is brisk,
businesslike, full of details. The answers my brain did 
not want to comprehend at my last appoints. The words
burn themselves into my flesh. "We've make a mistake.
Your heart is continuing to fight the stenosis that 
binds you. The surgery will not be needed for another
ten or fifteen years. Your neurologist called me and 
said your Multiple Sclerosis is stable, and well controlled."

When I pause in shock and don't respond, he bides me to ask, 
but my is feeling again with emotions. Tears from, and he bides me
get a cool drink. Sit down. Call him back when the questions arise.
But I am already pushing my way to my children, explaining, hopefully.
Hugs surround me and my husband arrives. "I'm going to live, a good long 
time." All of the horror that sat in my subnormal has left for
others. My husband swings me around and joins the children in
celebration. Plans are made, dinner out at a place where
lingering and talking is imminent, a movie to follow. 
Suddenly the fog and distance are gone. My confusion is gone.
The Cat smiles in her strange cat fashion and warms my soul.

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