Waiting for the end

His name was “Jones” and he had served in a war,
Or such my mother said.
There was drool down his chin,
And porridge encrusted on his shirt.
I tried to imagine him a fighter,
But giggled instead.

Mrs Hawkins had a past not to be mentioned,
Not exactly details were shared,
But rather hints and raised brows.
I knew better than to ask,
But gathered that it was worse,
Much worse than what took place between the pages of the magazines,
Which my brother has under his bed.
What could be worse?
I was too young to know.
I looked at her,
Teeth out,
Breasts on her knees,
And was thankful for ignorance.

Mr Fitzpatrick had owned the town bank,
He has refused money to many in need,
None forgot or forgave,
Excluding those in the home with him,
Who had the sweet mercy of dementia.
He sat in a pool of urine,
And couldn’t reach his sippy cup.

My mother enters the room.
I take her hand and walk happily away.

More than four decades later I sit halfway in the middle,
Between that child and those awaiting the end.
They are all long buried and forgotten,
Except by me and you.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
11 January 2013