Where we put our mother
She didn’t understand quite how she got there.
Always now. A service hatch. A home.
It wasn’t home. We knew and we forgot her
longing to be safe with us and not where
helpers meted kindness off the bone.
She couldn’t understand quite how she got there.
Home was what she wanted – not a soft chair,
cloistered in the care of hands unknown.
It wasn’t home. She knew that. So much hot air,
warming her dis-ease. She couldn’t stop there,
she told us, told us, told the answerphone.
We played at understanding. How she got there,
was tidily rehearsed, but it was not fair.
Trusting us, bewildered and alone,
she wasn’t home. She knew. She missed the plot where
she had grown her children. She had lost her
harvest, lost her oozing honeycomb.
She didn’t understand how she had got there
Far from home. Unfastened. We forgot her.
by Joe Crocker
Editor’s Note: This wrenching villanelle illustrates the difficult question of eldercare with a loved one cast adrift in an ocean of love and guilt and choiceless reality.