Loose Feathers

“You mean to tell me you’re back?”

She said to him—

This Angel of the ward

Who saw to it

That not only did her patients get the best,

But, when the loneliness, and the dark,

And bitterness of the curse hit,

she was always there one in one

—For them—and they got all of her.

When they cried from the tubes

Or cried from the blood draws

Or cried from embarrassment on the sheets

Or cried from the fear getting through the night;

Or the day,

Or the hour,

Or just because their lives

Were no longer their own.

It seemed she would always appear

And those fears would be wiped away,

Like sand on a beach chair…

She became not only their confessor,

She became their Gibraltar,

Resolute and anchored in mercy,

And immovable in letting it grow in them

“Yes ma’am”, he said back to her

In his best big ole’ southern dummy drawl

(He used it when he was truly

Terrified of things snd didn’t know how to act

Or what to say)

it put himself and other people at ease;

This cornpone talent and backwoods charm;

His secret weapon

…and his only way to cope

He threw on that mask and that drawl

Because the symptoms had returned…

—the fatigue

—the blood loss

—the weakness

—the loss of basic abdomen control;

—the bloat that pushed his insides out

….but most of all -the pain

Pain that stabbed him constantly

and chased his sanity crashing through

The door of his spirit

And that made itself manifest anytime he moved

…so he had stopped moving

And become a great, bloated, boulder

Giving up on trying to fight anymore

And as such, back in his sanitized Hotel suite where the sheets always came off

And the bathroom was made of plastic

And he had a flood of late night visitors,

Gladly willing to add to his scars and tracks

From endless blood mining in the night

“I couldn’t leave all this”

He joked back at her as best he could,

Knowing she wasn’t buying

(And she wasn’t)

..she simply walked to the whiteboard

And filled in all the good stuff:

Doctors names he had never heard of,

Pain level faces that looked like

A kindergarten behavior chart,

Her beloved name—and he meant that,

And the ever popular

“Discharge date: unknown”

It was then she smiled

That goofy smile she used to both

Prep him for what was to come

But mostly to ease him as best she could

As she brought in the gallon jug

Of chalk water….and a glass…

And sat down.

She held his hand and they sat.

“All of it you know”, she said;

Don’t worry either—we’ll get through this…

Quietly, she took his road mapped hand

And placed it in hers and patted it —

Softly as if her hands were doves;

And whispered “I know this is hard—

..but you can make it, and I’ll be there

Every step of the way—“

And he knew what that meant

…she would clean up his mess with dignity

…she would wipe his brow through the sweat

…she would never lose her smile or her strength

He knew what the night ahead meant

And from the depths of his soul

He thanked God she had been there

Exactly when he needed her.

After all, she had encouraged him to fly

And he had for awhile,

But as these things go—his wings had failed

And he had to glide as best he could

Back to the nest

And to her caring wing and gossamer love.

Throughout that night,

He, at times (and there were many),

Cried out in humility

As his body took on its own will

And his cries were always met

With grace and quiet resolve,

Never flinching or judging,

Just easing the path and

Providing a lamp through the forest.

Then next day dawned

As did his sleepless, burning eyes,

She came in and said her goodbyes —

It was shift change you know,

A time where he knew

She would be leaving his nest

And turning him over to a new mother bird

—and the thought of that

Burned him with despair

as she was his champion;

Irreplaceable and unbeaten.

“This is Angel”,

She said as she blew into the room

Like a wind of unending kindness;

“She’ll be taking care of you today…”

He looked at “”Angel” and back to his savior

And, once again becoming the southern dummy

Said in his best drawl “howdy ma’am!

You here to keep me in line?”

Angel smiled and said “absolutely”

And pointed to his mother bird and said to him,

“I learned from the best—so behave yourself”

And gave him a smile that was part

Mother and also like a lioness on the savannah

….and he knew she would guard him and

that he was now her cub and had just graduated from baby bird status to nursing lion.

As his team turned to leave, mother bird

Turned and came back to his side,

She bent down to him

And whispered with the voice

Of a fleeting breeze,

“Her name is really Gabriela,

But I told her to tell you her name was Angel;

Because you’re going to fly again…

And, after all, we’re all angels anyway when

It comes to you”

She stroked his hair and then reached

Behind herself and scratched her back—

Just for a moment, but he noted it,

Hoping she was alright as he knew her hours

Were so long and challenging

And that what it took help him through

Had taken its toll…

She stood up again

and scratched her back once more—

“Odd” he thought again;

and then she turned,

Placing her arm around “Angel”

And they turned to leave the room…

—it was then he saw her scratch “Angel”’s

Back and, again, found it odd

But charged it to the kindness she showed

So many and that this was just another

Example of that….

Until he glanced down;

And saw the two long, gossamer, gleaming

Feathers lying on the floor—

And two more on the sink by the door—

He caught one last glance of them as they left

And both looked back with a secret smile

and a wink that held back a blinding light

….and, in the glare of that light from within them

He knew he would fly again

….on borrowed feathers


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: