waitress poems

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Ninety in a month,
though everyone but Marie knows
she’ll never make it.
With blood leaking
at the base of her brain
a stomach swollen and malign,
Marie pronounces it
“nothing serious,” and plans
a party in the spring.
She spits out the creamy drinks
laced with vitamins
we offer through straws.
Still each night Marie rises
from her bed, escaping
Houdini-like from the contraptions
that anchor her in place.
Sure that someone needs her
in another room,
she strays through halls
in a nearly hollow nightgown,
listening for the clear voice that
summoned her from sleep.
What comes next are
the inevitable falls: a cracked rib,
stitched forehead,
and then the broken hip.
In the hospital after surgery
she writhes in sleep, but
when we weep for this old friend,
Marie’s eyes snap awake;
she startles us with the smile
that still defines her life:
“Come here,” she whispers
drawing us close so she
can relay her final secret:
It’s really not so bad.


  • I like the way you express things so directly. The last couple of lines left me shivering. There is much more to them than they seem to express at a first read...Great :)

    By Blogger Anna Piutti, at 4:54 PM  

  • And, you know what? Reading your poems about hospital etc made me want to write about my own experiences in that department, which are several and haunting...I'm not sure when I'll feel like doing that, though, since that implies reliving not-so-cheerful experiences. I tried a couple of times, but I desisted in the end.

    Alright, I've been babbling enough...sorry.

    By Blogger Anna Piutti, at 4:58 PM  

  • Oh that last line! What we all hope for - but dread hearing from those we love.
    Thank you.

    By Blogger floots, at 12:38 AM  

  • I always think. If we could only learn that sooner. Great writing, Patry.

    By Blogger MB, at 9:18 AM  

  • "It’s really not so bad." I like this line so much with humor, hope and reassurance.

    By Anonymous Danny, at 9:29 AM  

  • This moved me very much and very personally. You brought my mother's last weeks back to me with searing clarity. That aside, however, the poem works really powerfully.

    By Blogger Stranger Ken, at 4:38 PM  

  • Patry, do you mind if I take that last line to be Marie's secret about life as well as death?

    By Blogger Bill, at 5:39 AM  

  • Thank you for your kind comments.
    I have a few photo blogs, which inlcude three albums dedicated to Verona, Vicenza (the city I live in), and Venezia - though this last one contains very few pictures. Here's the link to my "Verona blog", if you wish to have a look: http://lestatapverona.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger Anna Piutti, at 8:06 AM  

  • floots: the words have lifted me up since I heard them. They were spoken by a woman who "chose her attitude" all her life, and was not about to make death an exception.

    moose: Yes! We need more people able to speak words of courage and fearlessness as they go into the ultimate battle.

    Danny: You have described the essence fo this woman's character. Thank you.

    Stranger Ken: If this reminded you of your mother, she must have been a great woman. Thanks for visiting.

    bill: I think that the last line is about the worst that life has to offer. Pain, helplessness, imminent death.

    anna: I'm off to visit your photo sites right now!

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 8:29 AM  

  • You're welcome about the picture link. I just added a couple of night pics, and was going to add one more, when I noticed your comment. I was also pleased to hear we have similar views on politics.

    By Blogger Anna Piutti, at 9:49 AM  

  • Her spirit lives on in this I'm sure she's smiling at it and her secrets

    By Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson, at 11:29 AM  

  • Patry,

    since I cannot send you e-mail, I thought I'd use this space to let you know that I changed my site's URL. It is now


    By Blogger Anna Piutti, at 1:53 PM  

  • Thank you for this poem. I really liked it a lot ......

    By Blogger Gilbert Koh, at 2:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Who Links Here