Voices on the Wind
Voices in Tribute
by Mark Vogel
Lloyd stands stooped, permanently bent
at the waist, one leg askew, without a pound to spare—
a mutation complete, no longer the town post-master
us kids watched dispense penny candy.
But he smiles, eyes clear, as his lover
grabs my arm like I am hers to own.
“I’m so glad you are here,” she says,
like she has known me forever.
Her touch makes me young and growing,
like something precious unearthed.
Miraculous, how I fit here so well, as a visitor,
for most in this retirement village are shrunken,
their stories cryptic and wounded,
like photographs without captions.
Norma can’t remember her grandson’s age,
as she watches robins on the lawn,
then says so mysterious for the fifth time:
“this is as close to heaven as it gets.
Mother says with a tremor, “I can’t see well today,”
looking at others quiet as dirt, asleep
in their shiny walkers. Nobody needs to remind
us that here the dead are present, that
futures are measured in days.
Mother looks at the centenarians in the newspaper,
and says: “If I knew I was going to look like them,
I’m not sure I’d want to be around.” I laugh
along with her friend, Mabel, for here nothing is held back.
Even Joan, who rarely responds, smiles,
with her 80s wrinkles, as joy bubbles from some deep well.
No need exists for an encyclopedia of reasons.
For a logical history. The morning is fresh and crisp.
Just is. Just is.