Poem: Uncle Bill at the V.A.

Uncle Bill at the V.A.uncle bill va view chrysler

On the 11th floor of the V.A. hospital
In Manhattan is a restroom for guests
Outside it, a painting of a hammock on a beach

At the other end of a long corridor
Is a veteran
With I.V. bag, catheter bag,
A bag of clothes in the corner
And a chair that sighs when you sit

His sister strokes his hair, his face,
Liver spotted
Gray hair, white whiskers
It’s cold in here
I wonder if he’s cold

“Little brother you can go
anytime you want. It’s okay.”
“I know that. It’s very painful.”

Later the doc
Makes him stop
wisecracking during the Q & A

What year is it
Who is the president
Where are you
The V.A. hospital
On what street
East 23rd

I silently cheered that moment
In a hospital room
With a view of the Chrysler Building

At the end of a hallway
In a brick building
Lined with pictures of the beach

© 2014 Eileen Ridge

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