In my world of broken bodies and damaged brains I recently had a conversation at lunch with a young lady who was beyond silent. It is a rare moment when she strings words together to make a sentence. I asked her if she had always been so quiet. She said that since her brain injury(she was found after many hours unconscious at the bottom of her cellar stairs) her mind has slowed to a crawl. It takes her more than a "normal" amount of time before she can answer the simplest question and in this frenetic world that is unacceptable-even within her own family. She is made fun of by her family and even her eleven year old daughter has learned that she is fair game.
Tonight, after a wonderful, joyous dinner with my family, I sat in the stillness of the afterglow of the warm memory of the evening-not the stillness of a great distance that she breathed every day. This old poem of mine intruded-not the words, just the emotion of it.
Pale green glow of the jaded
Wearing blue jeans that have faded
A tangled tree of curls
The life of the sidewalk unfurls
Oh my, all about me cries
All about me tries
To separate the branches from the trees
To say goodbye to the birds and the bees
To remove the rays from the sun
There! Do you see? What I have done
I've darkened the heat and the might
Leaving only the cold and the fragile light
So many fragile lights out there-one puff of cold wind is all it takes to make them feel alone.