(Note about this photo— Many festive evenings
have been enjoyed in this room as Bert and friends
filled it with live music. Still the walls dance with
a celebration of the arts, especially poetry readings.)
I reach through cold bars to touch his hand.
I hear the familiar plea.
You've got to get me out of here.
I need my freedom.
I want my self back.
I look down to avoid seeing the pain in his eyes.
I am thinking, I want you back, too.
So badly. So very much.
When can we go home?
I tell him I'll try to find out today.
No need to say his is a life sentence.
Bed railings now define his boundaries.
Judge Alzheimer has ruled.
There will be no reprieve.
No pardon. No parole.
--Elaine Parker Akin