From Wait: A Parkinson’s Poem Sequence

By Peggy Garrison

On Foot
(for Rabbi D.A.)

A Jewish Santa
you come to visit us
on foot—the pack
on your back bursts
open like a piñata—
out fall dreidls, cookies,
a menorah, support, prayers;

Jewish Santa—
a rebbe on foot—
to December’s darkness
you bring light!

Parkinson’s Lament

My brain—
a sudden traitor—
going its own way—
my sweater’s become a labyrinth—
can’t find the armholes,
which end is up?
Pills prop.
For a couple
of hours I can
shuffle cards
sign a check
straighten my back
cut my meat—

a dropped cake
a fall in the street
my trusted brain
now a turncoat
firing on its own harbor—

who gave the order?


Swallow every pill in the house—
throw myself in front of a train—
(but what if part-way
I want to change my mind?)

Pacing the platform
I wait—
wait for faith
to re-register
like waiting for a
word to re-surface.

My husband brings me
warm potato soup—
olive oil in my throat
salt under my tongue—

The word is live.

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