Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

In The Balance

Image credit Alison Saar

She swings her legs up
and pumps them back down again
hands gripping the ropes

Holding tight, she moves back and forth, to help her see him in her mind. She pictures him trudging the fields and slashing his scithe. Mustering his beasts with a crack of the whip. Providing for their young family and protecting them. Always. She cooked for him and enjoyed it. Food was her way of saying thank you for looking after her – through the depression, the years beyond, and in the end, into old age, growing infirm together. Her parents had been right after all; it was a good match. She remembers how it is, and how it was, for 75 years of marriage. That’s all she has now he’s gone – constructing him over and over again with the minutiae and mundanity of their life; but all this is precious to her.

She moves back and forth
staff at the home don’t realise
she sees him in her mind

The nurse looks over and whispers to her colleague. Glancing surreptitiously at the 95 year old woman, they see her body gnarled and deformed with the withering of time. Her hands clawed, her legs crossed in atrophy. Lying helplessly in her padded chair, she gently rocks. They don’t see her, they only see the shell of who she once was. They don’t understand that the memories of him keep her in balance. They ease the torture of being trapped in that nursing home, waiting to die.

tired of rocking
my heart cannot bear you gone
when can I join you?

By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagarie, Photo Challenge #173

Author’s note: This haibun is inspired by my Nanna and my pop. He died two years ago and she has survived him despite the odds, existing, not living in a nursing home. She speaks to me about how she sees him in her dreams and how he visits her often, encouraging her to join him…

9 thoughts on “In The Balance”

      1. have to strongly disagree with that as I worked in palliative care and greedy offspring would have NO qualms in knocking off a rel just for a few hundred bucks .. it opens the floodgates to real abuse .. when they are that frail they can choose to hang on or let go .. and I have relatives well in their nineties who enjoy a great quality of life, we are all so different 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True, I didn’t even think about that! Not being privy to that world can totally respect that. I am obviously just considering my nanna’s situation. It just breaks my heart to see my her trapped in her own body and wanting so badly to go…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. smart lady but you will have to be very very sure that every staff member knows that as they tend to resuscitate every time … boss may know about the paperwork but the message doesn’t get passed down .. I told mum the only way is to have it tattooed across her chest as all medical staff want to be saviours …


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