"Lost Hope" and "Museum of Distractions"
Neurotic mother aligned against her,
called her names, criticized her artistic talents,
squashed her scholarship and plan for college,
thwarted her ambition, stripped away self-esteem,
programmed her for disappointments.
Her muted voice shrank behind a curtain
and trembled at the thought it might be parted.
She winced at her name, sought an alter identity.
Unable to shape her own future,
she ran away, took a job, traveled the world.
Unworthy haunted her like an ugly
stepsister, lurking, leering, laughing,
reminding her she didn’t deserve
a decent man, one who’d provide, protect, pamper,
shower with flowers, with kisses and valentines.
She looked askance at men, trusted none.
Losers and leavers came to court.
She had to banish the bad ones,
shy away from those with promise,
afraid to let them learn who she really was.
Love was a rainbow’s end,
viewable from a distance,
but a mirage, never reachable.
Late in life, cancer took root, ate
at her body and chewed up hope.
Doctors, nurses and hospitals
disappointed, mistreated, deceived her.
Pain and fear, a snarling pair of wolves
circled in with bared teeth.
Unable to cope, she put her life in order,
crafted a plan to end her misery,
in a final act of confident self-will.
"Museum of Distractions"
Give them a clinic that serves as a museum
of distractions, get their minds off
monkeys on their backs—the occluded
arteries, the malfunctioning heart valves,
the limping kidneys, the lungs
that huff like winded running backs.
Open their world with non-clinical architecture
like a gorgeous sculptured atrium
with graceful curves, sinusoidal balcony lines,
rectilinear roofs and polygonal skylights
that usher in radiance of sunshine.
Lead them by an elegant waterfall
where water navigates through smooth
gateways and sluices down distributary channels
like a healthy circulatory system.
Walk them down cheerful corridors
with pleasing, patterned carpets
and welcoming tiled floors.
Make museum walls of hallways,
lined with scenes of maple trees and lilies
beside a peaceful lake to soothe
their stuttering souls, calm their fluttering
hearts. Display vibrant paintings
that shout good morning. Greet them
with bold, bright colors that wake
the body and jump-start the brain.
Show them order and wholeness
with arcs and circles, parallel lines,
completed polygons. Surprise and delight
with a purple elephant and a red striped zebra.
Drabness they can find back home
on any given day with physicians,
nurses and aides in clothes
and tones of clinical sameness,
with long-faced family members
wearily watching the clock’s hands
dragged by the merciless master
time through one unchangeable
hour after another.
Wesley Sims has published one chapbook of poetry, When Night Comes (Finishing Line Press, 2013). His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, South Carolina Review, Praxis Magazine, Liquid Imagination, The Avocet and others. He lives in Oak Ridge, TN.