Theresa

Theresa I remember you

I climbed the stairs of

The old folk’s home

Holding the tray of food

I had made for you

Could already hear

Down the hallway

The dance music blaring

From your radio

In the shared room

All alone

I come in and smile

At your sweet face

I put down the tray

I switch the radio

Over and think

About the horrible staff

Who put that on

And left you

They leave you up here

In bed alone

All day, most days,

You cause trouble

You are rude to other

People’s visitors

You never get your own

No one cares

When you see me

You smile and your eyes sparkle

I sit beside you and give you

My time, I am seventeen and

Have plenty. You are over seventy

And have plenty too

We lean in and chat and

Hand squeezing

You say to me

‘Doesn’t your husband mind you coming to see me?

Oh he must complain!’

Oh Theresa

Sweetheart keep believing

Because I have no husband

And I work here

But let’s both believe

I am visiting you

Because I want to and I

Will spend some time

And hope I don’t

Get caught

Missing from the kitchen

Eat your scrambled eggs

Oh invalid eggs

And keep going

You look sleepy

And I leave you

Alone

With sweet classical

Sounds this time

And know please Theresa

You filled me up

You helped me know

You made me stronger

To rage and be yourself

And don’t play nice

Even if others are mean

And they will be mean

Don’t roll over

Don’t just shut up

But be difficult

Be honest

Because it means you are alive

In this non-living place.

 

© Jennifer Winterburn

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