Nursing Home Jell-O

"Tonight it's red. Tomorrow
it'll be yellow or green. It's
in every nursing home
."
John Grisham, "Quiet Haven"

I drove past mother's nursing home
last week for the first time
since she passed, saw bulldozers
and churned orange earth, maybe for

a new parking lot or an extension
part-financed by the thousands
we shelled out. Her dull private room
where she'd fought the staff on one
of the last days she was in there.

The nursing home Jell-O quivering
at the traumas all around, the dozing
Alzheimer's patients, the drooling,
sightless ones, zoned out, medically
assisted, the ones tied to their beds


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as the holidays came and went.
I recall a jolly dancing Uncle Sam
pinned to the drab institutional wall.

Christopher T. George