by Greg Pape
On the porch at Wawona he would sit
in his wheelchair and watch the deer.
He spoke with his clear eyes
and his palsied body.
Did you see Ginger today? Ginger was a doe.
Yes, he said, by looking right at you
and raising his eyebrows and stiffening his back.
Do you want to go inside now?
No, he said, pursing his lips and lowering his eyes.
For thirty years he was fed with a spoon
and a spill-proof cup. Sometimes he would choke
and spit up like an infant.
When he had to go, someone had to go with him
and hold him on the toilet and wipe him clean.
Sometimes he would sigh and smile the calmest smile.
When he was happy and excited he would kick his feet
and wave his arms like broken flowers.
The deer came right up to him
and ate the grain scattered at his feet
and sniffed his knees
and breathed with him in the early evening.
Last updated October 31, 2022