A Way of Life


To move about the kitchen

while he sat for days

looking at the floor.

Both of them somber—

he with the pale look

in dark thoughts,

she with resignation

and a bit of here we go again.


No one spoke the word, a single word

or tried to fix him with a pill.

Did they even know the word?

Sometimes the family thought

they could repair him,

find a tool to adjust his state of mind—

oil a rusty connection,

weld a broken part.


TV is her only companion

to fill the evening silence,

a deserted forest where a tree never fell.

She knew his smile and jokes

would eventually return

but she hated waiting

for the ice to thaw,

the sun to rise,

the sky to clear.




She wanted to stay

in small town South Dakota

in her large main street house

with its stairs everywhere.


She wanted to build a ramp

to make it easier to keep her life

of birthday club and coffee

with the girls at Boomer’s Cafe.


But we did not listen. We knew better —

with our images of her

falling down the stairs

or in the bathroom,

cane or walker tumbling

like drunks at the Polka Dot Bar.


She did not want to leave

but we made her.


So at the end,

when we had not listened once again,

we moved her to a safer place

just up Williston Road from me.

But fear moved in as well,

asked to be her roommate.


About the Poet

Janice is a poet who lives and writes in the desert of Tucson, Arizona, and on a lake in Wisconsin. She has degrees in English and Communication Disorders; spent her career as a speech pathologist. Janice’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Gyroscope Review, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, Mojave River Review, Caesura, and The Remembered Arts Journal among others.