Friday, October 26, 2007

The Stolen Television Set

Susan Elizabeth Howe (1997)

At the Seaview Retirement Home, the elderly
Came to believe life would come
Through the screen. Like light on waves,
It reflected their faces, blue-green in bright
Shifting patterns, reflected their eyes
As now and later passed. So in the night
When someone cut the cord, lifted the Wheel
of Fortune, Jeopardy, and all the stars, stole
The show, they lost their umbilical, outside connection
And light drained off, leaving them exposed like
Fetuses in glass jars.
These elderly are facing the crisis.
They sit in the televisionless lounge, cough,
Stare at the harsh blank walls, shrivel
Slightly, wonder where they are now.
No one can say how they yearn
For the liquid, blue-green light only yesterday
Filling the room, flickering waves
Stretching and wobbling time, the steady
Throb of comfort like a dark, first home.