Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Poetry Session

Bea has been on one of her sleeping gigs. All she will accept in the way of nourishment is a bit of water and some ice cream. It is a bit disconcerting to live with someone for whom day and night fuse into one long nap. Again, the behavior is reminiscent of my children when they were infants.

This morning early, Sleeping Beauty wakes up.

“Is there anyone who can bring me some food? I need food. Food, please.”

I hear the SOS and open my eyes. Pitch black outside. At least she is not shouting, which would be unseemly, given the presence of bed & breakfast guests in the house. I make a detour into the kitchen before entering her bedroom.

“It’s 3:00 am,” I whisper. “Here. If you’re hungry, you can eat this banana.”

“Yum, yum,” she says and accepts it greedily.

Hunger has made her forget bananas have risen to the top of her Undesirables List.

During the afternoon, Chaplain Rill stops by with favorite poetry to share, Stanley Kunitz’s last book, The Wild Braid. She sits by Bea’s bedside and reads several poems out loud. Bea listens with rapt attention, eyes closed. I am touched that Rill has thought to reach Bea through poetry. How clever!

As the Chaplain is leaving, Bea tells her she is hungry.

“What would you like to eat?” Rill asks.

Bea's response: “Anything but a banana.”


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