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Guide Him Through

Guide Him Through

-Poetry by Nancy Levinson – December 12, 2018



Between lush manicured lawns
and dense sheared hedges I walk
slowly           up the curved path
to the wall near the relief sculpture
tall as a juniper tree Moses on the Mount.

I step into the Garden of Canaan,
no Eden in its beginning
My husband here at eternal rest
those words of finality suffocating me
then once again I read beloved,

devoted husband and father
etched on the brass plaque of his tomb,
my fingertips press kisses on the letters
hot from a blistering sun high overhead,
I whisper I love you
                                             I love you

Sitting on a small marble bench, I read softly
Yehuda Amichai’s poem, ‘A Man in His Life’
He doesn’t have seasons enough
to have a season for every purpose.
Ecclesiastes was wrong about that. . .

I murmur poetry I wrote
as my husband lay ill and I gave care
throughout long days and nights
hoping that in my days of grief I can weave
the threads of my tapestry, create my own design, 

new landscapes thrive in a parallel universe. . .
my throat catches
my eyes mist over
but I am not weeping
as last year and the year before. 


 ars poetica


Alzheimer’s had clawed into my husband’s brain
dug out his memory    his being.

As I carried sorrow and anger
cruel companions   throughout the days    the years
time was stolen from me.

With writing I’d climbed the Statue of Liberty
broken the sound barrier with Chuck Yeager
explored the seas with Columbus and Magellan

What heights the spark of an idea    the chase
struggle for precision    rhythm    sweet sound
striking my heart    sharing the story

Yet in despair, diving in waters    deep
beneath those ships adrift
there laid a treasure
the glint of poetry bubbling up
waking me amidst the oceans’ gentle waves
rocking me in


 WHAT TO EXPECT                                             


do you see him, jacket trousers tie slapdash
over his pajamas   striding with purpose out the front door
into blackness   quarter moon dim behind a faint brush of cloud
me clutching my robe chasing after

neither scolding nor shouting
evading anger   confusion
threading my fingers between his to ease
wheedle him back into the house into our bed

do you hear him insist he has new patients admitted
he needs to get to them now
though now there is no means to convince him
that it is night time     time to sleep

do you grasp there’s no use reminding
he no longer practices medicine
he is not the same person he was
my need   keep him safe

come back inside     the hospital just phoned
yes that’s it  his patients’ rooms are changing
they’ll call back   give the new numbers
we’ll wait in the kitchen   sip a cup of tea

soon the dawn will break
I’ll hold his hand again
guide him through the long hours of day
————————through the sad sundowning
——————————–through the mad confusion
through the futile reassurance
that for today he is safe at home


Nancy LevinsonAbout the Author – Nancy Levinson
Nancy is the author of  MOMENTS OF DAWN: A Poetic Memoir of Love & Family; Affliction & Affirmation, as well as work published in Confrontation, Poetica, Evening Street Review, Survivor’s Review, Burningword Literary, Rat’s Ass Review, many anthologies, and elsewhere.  In “past chapters” of her life, she authored some thirty books for young readers, including biographies of Columbus, Magellan, and Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty. Nancy lives in Los Angeles. *Grave Site Visit was first published in Jewish Literary Journal, September 2018.



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