Thursday, March 19, 2015

Poem #76

For Betty

Betty died last Wednesday
And there’s a hole in my world
We weren’t close friends
Just fellow regulars
At Loprinzi’s gym
But there’s a hole in that world
With her passing

She was a big woman
Six feet or so
Her hair gray when I met her
White 10 years later
Took her for my age
But turns out she was a decade older
Someone said she’d been a cop
Maybe so
She had an imposing way
A scold I didn’t want
Turned on me

She always staked out her spot
By the hip extender machine
Read grocery circulars
And women’s magazines
Between sets
We laughed at celebrity shenanigans
Impossible recipes
The follies of the young

Two years ago
Her son found her on the floor at home
A week in the hospital
But when she came back to us
She was herself
Irreverent, cheerful
Then two weeks ago
He found her again
Incoherent this time
Diagnosed with dementia
Moved to one of those places

Now I suspect she was not losing her mind
But stepping onto the last road
And I’m glad
For the thought of her
In one of those places
Tied into a wheelchair
Is not what I would want for her
She was too much herself
To get lost in the land of nothingness

If there’s a gym in heaven
Betty’s there four mornings a week.
Gym bag and plaid shirt in hand
And at Loprinzi’s
The hip extender machine
Is now labeled “The Betty”

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