Visiting Peggy at the Cayuga Ridge Extended Care
“Nobody feels any pain”—Bob Dylan, Laureate
Sang and Peggy lies at the bottom of a painless
Corridor draped in dope and decorated
With people parked on Sunday between rooms,
Some less somnambulant than others,
And a few snooze in squares of sun
That roast the flesh despite the blowing fans.
At the end of the hall is a room with a table,
Chairs and a television blazing down
On three wheelchairs, in each one
A semi-conscious human contorted by strokes
Of misfortune, accidents; Peggy’s head crooked
Paralyzed, is crumpled beneath the weight
Of the quick side; another stares mouth
Open wide one empty eye fixed on the ceiling
Perhaps in search of sky, celestial signs
In cracked plaster; the third is scowling, lidded,
Head directed towards a point on the floor;
And the show they’re watching: The Walking Dead.
An irony I’m not prepared for, irony as shock
As if I’d bit the cord and laughed when the current
Blasted the teeth out the back of my skull.
Rick and Carl, separated. Decrepit Zombies in a pastoral
Fugue of woods, streams and filtered lens light
Shredded flesh zombies stagger about, ravenous
Unrepentant relentless; Death triumphant.
The hanging dirty garment, grimacing jaws gnash
In deep shadow, Karl blowing out decayed brains.
I become transfixed. I can’t deny The Walking Dead its due
Despite my gnarled and distorted friend finally betrayed
By a blood clot as her mind phases in and out
The dead keep walking while living humans rot.