Back to Wherever

“Are we going back
to wherever?” she asks
as I unlock the wheels
of her chair
to leave the
hospital courtyard.

The clouds above
turn purple-pink
in the late
evening sky.

Two gray doves
fly home
from the scrub
by the bubbling waters
beneath the banana tree.

A dozen crows
cut quick shadows
across the tops
of the tall sycamores
to roost in the east
near Santa Anita.

The hummingbirds
are silent now
as they bed high
in the dark creases
of maples
in the lowering dusk.

But she is lost.

Her 90-year-old legs
are crippled,
her eyes see only
the distant skies
beyond the hills
of Altadena,
while back in her room
the nurses wait
to raise her up
in the hydraulic lift,
to swing her
onto the sanitary pad,
to watch her
swallow the pill
that takes her
home and back
from there
to wherever.

Don Cadwallader

Published in
Front Porch Review (July 2017)

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