Two Poems

This Clipboard

was in my mother’s room
at the nursing home
it’s a cheap one
made from some kind of
pressed board or something
it’s thin and
has her name and room number
written on the back
I brought it home with me
in a cardboard box
packed with
some of the other things
left behind in her room
cards people sent to her
we had taped to the wall
a folder
with the name of the nursing home
and papers inside
outlining her therapy goals
there were two or three
search-a-word books
she liked doing those
but in the nursing home
she wasn’t able to
unless somebody helped her
her hands didn’t work
anymore and
I had to help feed her
when I was there
I don’t like to think about it
but I kept this clipboard
I took it out of the box and
sometimes I use it


The Man From the Funeral Home

it’s strange seeing him
just out walking around
purchasing milk
and a loaf of bread
over at the grocery store
paying for it
with his debit card
I saw him at the post office
wearing his suit and tie
he must’ve just come
from another funeral
a nice enough guy and
I know he provides
a valuable community service
but he’s suppose to be at the church
or over at the funeral home
speaking to families
in that gentle tone of his
he’s not suppose to be here
laughing too loud
with some other guy
standing out on the sidewalk
and I’m always reminded of death
even out here in the sun
I know it’s not his fault
he hasn’t done anything wrong
I guess
it’s like when I was young
running into one of my teachers
out somewhere
away from the school and
I tried to convince myself
they were ordinary people
but it never felt natural to me

—James Babbs, Stamford, IL