Poems and Poetry

A Visit to the Veterans Rest Home | A Poem by Roy Pullam

It had that smell
Of old men
Aged to helplessness
I checked the wall
The posting of room assignments
I passed several men
In wheelchairs
One called out to me
I did not stop
I felt uncomfortable
Not knowing
What to say
His voice followed me
Down the hall
I saw Arnold
Sitting in a chair
A sheet wrapped
Around his midriff
Anchoring him
In place
I noticed his beard
His thin hair
Like gray straw
Piled loosely
On his head
I spoke to him
“Arnold, do you know
Who I am?”
He smiled
“Sometimes I don’t know
who I am”
I forced the conversation
Hoping some form of recognition
Would follow
As we talked
His eyes not focused
His smile not quite right
I felt ill at ease
Like hollering
In a thunderstorm
Alzheimer’s is so cruel
Leaving the body
Just a shell
I left in frustration
With my heart broken

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