Sunday, March 19, 2006

Everything’s Covered by a Fine Gold Dust

You leave
You return

To a dead car battery
That won’t hold a charge
And oak pollen everywhere
Blown into piles in every corner
And coating the car with the
dead battery.

For a year or so in the latter stages of his Alzheimer’s
my father was confined
to a bed with railings on the sides.
and my mother and the woman who helped her
couldn’t get him to the pot.
So they strapped him into huge highly absorbent adult diapers
A final indignity (or maybe the second-to-last)
But they did the job for which they were intended.

He had grown up in labor camps
with Mexican kids
as his father moved
from coal mine to coal mine
in East Texas.

“A very unsettled life,” my mother observed.

He feared poverty (a lot, I think)
but was uneasy with affluence
and quietly contemptuous of
ostentatious display
of all kinds.

Madness was not something he considered (I’m guessing).

After he died there was a big box of adult diapers left,
and my mother asked me to get rid of them.

But I didn’t, thinking I could make use of them or
give them away, except these diapers were huge.
You could wrap six babies in them, at least.
And how do you “donate” adult diapers?
So I kept them, and occasionally
they’ve come in handy.

Like today, when I went into my trunk
and took out the last one
and used it wipe the fine gold dusting
off of the car with the dead battery.

It’s what my father would’ve wanted.

And hell, I wrung it out and might use it again.
Because it’s highly absorbent.

You leave.
You return.

Catching up on ... A very pointed (and it’s about time!) takedown of Sherron Watkins, the Enron “whistleblower” whose lips never wet a whistle … while Jim Kunstler puts the “Mommy” and “Daddy” parties on the couch (so true, so true).

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