Issue Twenty-Five - Winter 2015

When the Help Arrives

By Christina Foskey

Plush slippers call cold feet
aside the rusting medical bed in my room.
Warm wet thighs, burn early morning alarm.
I wait for Sandra’s routine to ensue,
she smells like my birthday
1935: panicked copper pockets.

A woman enters my room.
The uniformed lady insists, “open windows, open heart.”
cleaning supplies tucked under-armed, unfamiliar.

New faces, they never send the same ones back.
“What’s your name?” I ask the help.
Fresh linens and bleach find my nose.

“My name is Sandra, I am helping out today.”

The phone rings.
Sandra announces, It’s my daughter.
I’m moved to the room for living.
Need my daughter to make changes,
I tell her to stop sending new people
ask if her father has written.
She recommends a supplement
a Dr. on the tube was endorsing,
says it’s in the mail.
I tell her, I’m not choking down experimental drugs
that with her father’s arrival from Vietnam,
it will be discussed.
She has to go, they always have to go.
I hang up the phone.

A woman says it’s time to bathe.
I am naked for yet another stranger.
Helpless white walled,
water falls into her cupped hand.
She splashes my rosebud,
wipes hard, wash cloth shuttering skin.
I am red again.

I can do it myself!

Beauty hour makes up for vulnerable misery,
over pink toes and acetone air.
We are tightly pinning cotton candy curls
they are kissing the tops of my ears.
A woman introduces me to people in photos I don’t know,
shows me places she says that I’ve been.
I never did get her name.

Copyright 2015 Foskey