The poetic city: “A Suite For Miss Helen, From One Week To The Next 5/23/15”

Miss Helen doing her dance. (Photo by: Greg Shelton)



A Suite For Miss Helen:  From One Week To The Next    5/23/15 


Lately, when I arrive for my weekly visits

Helen no longer looks up at me 

with the surprised delight

I have come to count on…

Nor does she seem to take great pleasure

in the jazz that she once loved so much.


Last week I had to work hard 

for each glimmer of a smile 

that lasted but a second 

before the inevitable droop 

back into the darkness 

where she appears to reside

Leaving me to wonder 

if my intrusions 

                 disturb or brighten                 

the world she inhabits 

as she endures the waiting

for she knows not what.


This week 

I made up my mind 

not to work for smiles


Instead of carrying on 

with exaggerated gestures

to draw her into the music, 

I sat with Helen in the garden,

quietly holding hands,

listening to her jazz,

and watching the birds come and go.


And, when I was finally successful  

in convincing myself that 

I didn’t have to do anything 

to make the time special for her,

I became aware that the tickling sensation

in the palm of my hand was Helen 

keeping time with the beat. 


© Reece Burka 2/1/2019



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