Sheila-Na-Gig online

Poetry

Ehud Sela

Dr. Ehud Sela

Dr. Ehud Sela is a veterinarian; he owns an Animal Hospital in Margate, Florida. Dr. Sela writes both fiction and poetry. His writings can be found online and in print.

AT THE WRITING DESK

I
Outside the traffic parades
On 16th and K street
Break-lights flicker
Like fire sprouting from molten asphalt:
Urban Volcano.

Earlier in the afternoon grey clouds
Drifted in the breeze and the sun
Briefly illuminated my hotel room.

Even earlier, in the taxi from the airport
The Potomac walled the city
In metallic grey and Canadian geese
Huddled by the water in the frost-beaten grass.

At “Le Pain Quotidien,” Alessia the waitress
Looked at me with her big black eyes:
Will you be here tomorrow morning? I asked.
Yes, she said with a smile.
I will try to come.
Outside the wind picked up
Late night snow flurries were predicted.
I walked down Massachusetts to 16th to my hotel.

At the writing desk.
Rush hour starts: cars’ lights
White like frozen comets display.
I think of my mother: helpless, dementia, strokes.
How she loved her pain quotidien: thick bread slices
With butter and chocolate-spread
Now she is fed liquid diet
By her Philippine aide.

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

The next day, late in the afternoon the sky cleared.
At the writing desk looking south on 16th
I see a few white clouds drift eastward
At times trapped in the leafless branches
Of the tree by the St. Regis Hotel.

My father called, depressed and defeated:
Your mother is home in diapers
Lost her words
Her mind clogged
Her memories ghosts
Dementia and strokes
She howls and cries for hours like a trapped animal
Her latest stroke was in the hospital
After her hip, broke.

Inferno.

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Earlier at “Le Pain Quotidien”
I gave Alessia my card
She seemed happy to see me:
Will you have dinner with me tonight?
I will think about it, she said
Call me.
She never did.

By the writing desk
At the Capital Hilton
The secret service teams:
Snowplows block the streets
Bomb sniffing dog
Capital police
The Vice President is coming for dinner
The Alfalfa Club meets.

The sun sets
The sky’s blue but a memory.
Petechiae purpura ecchymosis
Stain the sky like a bruise.

Your mom is at home in diapers
Her mouth droops
Her words gone
Her memories ghosts
She weeps for hours nonstop.
Today the Geriatrician came:
You do an excellent job with her
She is clean
Keep a regular routine
Usually within five years most
They are dead
Her dementia at end stage.

Inferno.

The fires leap and char
The demons dance
On her carcass-life
Reduced to an orifice
For liquids
And an orifice for waste.

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Next day at the writing desk.
Dusk is setting like dust
The sky folds into its night.
Sunday night, the streets empty
I walk to the St. Regis
The restaurant is closed
Outside the temperature drops.

Earlier, at the bookstore
At the anthology launch
Narcissism prevailed
But not you:
Your bio short
Like an afterthought.
A piece about your ill husband
His battle with cancer
His remission
The fear of reoccurrence.

A yellow house you wanted to buy
Your two boys on the sandy beach in summer
Your dog happy and running.
Talks with your husband:
What if… what if you die?
And then you cried
In front of us
At the podium
You wiped your eyes, apologized
And read the story to its end.

Afterwards I saw you go to the audience
Your husband there
You kissed him
I was struck:
By the truth of emotions,
By love I know nothing of.

II
Let me have the power
Of thought and mobility
To the exit walk.
More, let me have the wisdom
To know when to let go
When hope lost its hope.

Tomorrow is another day
It will get better
It can’t get any worse
The dawn of another day will shine.

Nonsense.

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Notes:
The anthology: District Lines, volume IV. The writer and story: Kate Reimann— A Love Affair with a Yellow House.
Le Pain Quotidien: a bakery-restaurant group.
Pain quotidien: French for daily bread.
The Alfalfa Club: a Washington, D.C. social organization that exists only to hold an annual banquet on the last Saturday of January. The club’s membership, which numbers about 200, is composed primarily of influential politicians, business executives, and has included several Presidents of the United States. The group’s name is a reference to the plant’s supposed willingness to “do anything for a drink.”
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Is a 1969 film directed by Sidney Pollack and is based on the 1935 novel by the same name by Horace McCoy.
%d bloggers like this: