Your mother is missing,
the nurse hovers at the door .
Your mother is missing, a bit louder this time.
As if this was natural, a daily game of let's find the Italian,
the one who doesn't speak English anymore.
In the C wing,
there are 24 rooms, a narrow hallway,
a kitchen, a solarium and a locked entrance.
(It’s not rocket science).
I weave a pattern through the rooms,
each room a riddle to solve before I can move on.
Margo greets me. I can't seem to find my room, she says.
I'm looking for my Mom, I say, she lives here too.
Margo stares at me — why?
There are questions in my life
I have no answers to.
I find Mom in Del’s room, sitting on the bed,
wearing Ethel's slippers.
Fingers at her mouth, she looks at the wall,
waits to be tucked in for a good long nap.
Tina Biello, "C Wing 1" from A Housecoat Remains. Copyright © 2015 by Tina Biello. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Source: A Housecoat Remains (Tina Biello / Guernica Editions Inc, 2015)