C Wing 1

Tina Biello

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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)