A haibun for "You've Got Character!"
| “No point in asking why you’re here.” Klara Kapelski turns to me. Then, her honeyed eyes search the room and twinkle in surprise as if seeing her treasures for the first time. On the wall, old frayed photos of a son who wants to do nothing with her. On the dresser, her collections: stickers; crystal statues; a Chia pet frog, bald and chipped; and other mishmash of things.
a tentative sun
over a long life’s debris,
veiling held-back tears
Then, her head swivels to the TV. Even more than usual, her skin wrinkles as she grimaces, swallowing in chocolate-colored liver spots; she curses in Polish at the ref on the 26 inch screen. “Darn it, the guy in his bumblebee shirt…I’m safe…for the Good Lord won’t know I swore, since He never learned my tongue.” She purses her Coral Cabana lips and giggles, turning red. “Ready for a walk?” I ask, pushing the off button. “Aww! Wrestling’s next, but what the heck, I’ll go.” She reaches for her cane and stands up adjusting her weight on furry slippers. Her large pansy-print dress billows like hope.
in twilight’s gloom, don’t let her
“Wait up!” She reaches to the dresser for her Very Berry Rouge. “It faded away since morning, you see. I won’t be caught dead ever, looking like a cadaver.” She laughs at her own words and shuffles out of the room, down the hall, past the game room through the dining hall. I reach for the door, so she can hobble outside, one step at a time, toward the rose garden.
ask for one last rose
dying earns a living wish
watch over your heart
In The Last Resort’s garden, her thinned curls dance in the breeze in wisps of gray fancy. I pace nearby, keeping her in sight. “My two granddaughters I never met, not even their mother.” “Yes, you told me, Klara.” “Oh, did I? Well, he--my son--was offended over nada. My birthday gift reached his hands a week late, he assumes, on purpose. He thinks I nag and needle too. An inflamed soul, you see, but before I die, I still want to make up with him and have him give me my last wish, a loving eulogy. That’s why, before I see my babe again, dying scares me.”
needing a truce with the son
for dust to settle
Klara will never know that I called her son and he scoffed at me. “Don’t tell me she’s dying. I don’t need to let my life switch for one old goddamn witch!” I gazed into the receiver with disgust and wondered if his indifference got caught inside the wires of the apparatus.
weary widow’s heart
trapped in traffic for trampling
by her sterile dreams
At the garden’s edge, an old elm tree with ivy coiling around it wavers. From where I stand, I can view the parking lot. In a forgotten fashion, the cars of the staff wait for their owners. No visitors today. No visitors for Klara.
when last rays of hope dash down
with the setting sun