Visit to Mother

E. Laura Golberg


We find her in the sea of old ladies

nodding in their wheelchairs.

No brightness here but for caged yellow birds

tweeting among the sleepers.

Only we visitors hear them,

between staff’s cheeriness and blaring televisions.


The ladies sit in ill-fitting clothes,

their shapes have changed,

so Mother, once thin as a whisper

and as ephemeral,

becomes this solid, stolid lump.


What are we going to find today,

a spark of anger or smoldering resentment

among the grey embers of her mind?

Will she use her sparse remaining powers

to pout and then refuse her lunch?

Or will that small fire,

suppressed by this year’s chemicals,

have yielded to sleep?


E. Laura Golberg was born in England, lives in Washington, DC and is married to a native Kansan.  Her many trips to Kansas have inspired some poems that marvel at the scenery and people of Kansas.  She has been published in Genie, Mom’s Literary Magazine and If Poetry Journal.  In 2006, she was selected to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and in 2007, the George Washington University Jenny McKean Moore Free Community Writing Workshop and to read at the Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series.