An Ebbing

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Contributor: James Robert Rudolph

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We look into each other’s eyes.
she sees my brother, my great grandfather, others,
sometimes me.
I see her eyes sparkle
and I’m reminded of the rotating dome
of a planetarium,
slowly spinning, a beautiful sham.

She shuffles along, hand in mine,
small careful steps, like Japanese cloud walking,
but less poetic. Hunched over,
a back packer without a pack,
up and down these corridors, up and down,
down and up and back again,
stalled wheelchairs and old people,
a still life no one will paint.

But she’s a coquette, my mother,
with all sorts of improbable beaux,
she flirts, a starlet here,
a burlesque of hearing aids and
bad eyes and scrambled talk.

And so she dies out,
like the music from a car radio
slowly driving off, windows down,
it’s summer, a favorite song lingering
till it’s gone. Then you hum,
making it last, until the vitality ebbs
from it and you.

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James Robert Rudolph is a retired psychologist and teacher having returned to old haunts in northern New Mexico after a busy career in Minneapolis. He believes in old-style magical realism, that inspired by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the high desert, and the deep, broad sky of the American mountain west. Recent poems have appeared in The Artistic Muse, Mad Swirl, and Bewildering Stories, among others.


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