A Parting Shot
Now I see them everywhere I go:
those ill-matched pairs of women on the way
to nowhere special, so their steps are slow.
Their hours stretch forever, every day.
One’s not so young, the other’s really old.
She’s mad and stubborn though she cannot stand
without support. All comfort has grown cold,
yet she accepts her daughter’s steady hand.
They pass in isolated misery,
ignored as though transparent to the bone.
Afraid of death, but longing to be free,
they suffer their proximity alone:
the punishment that both of them must bear
for giving and receiving thankless care.