This post is dedicated to my mother, pictured above, with Nathan, in 1989. She was very brave and I miss her.
Poem: "Wagons," by Maxine Kumin from The Long Marriage (W.W. Norton).
Their wheelchairs are Conestoga wagons drawn
into the arc of a circle at 2 P.M.
Elsie, Gladys, Hazel, Fanny, Dora
whose names were coinage after the First World War
remember their parents tuned to the Fireside Chats,
remember in school being taught to hate the Japs.
They sit attentive as seals awaiting their fish
as the therapist sings out her cheerful directives:
Square the shoulders, lean back, straighten the knee
and lift! Tighten, lift and hold, Ladies!
They will retrain the side all but lost in a stroke,
the spinal cord mashed but not severed in traffic.
They will learn to adjust to their newly replaced
hips, they will walk on feet of shapely plastic.
This darling child in charge of their destiny
will lead them forward across the prairie.