Friday, January 18, 2008


Jane lies on the floor staring at the preposterous shadow
which extends across the wall to darken the clock’s face.

Thirty minutes ago, she sat on the edge of the tub arranging her hair,
preparing for the twenty-minute journey downstairs for breakfast.

The impulse to stand and check her face in the mirror failed.

the body will not respond
the brain continues to ask
until tired of echoing requests

it stops - abandoned, Jane watches

shadows stretch and contract: muscles
working autonomously to measure time
as rhythmic as the pulse in Jane’s veins
answering involuntary will

A friend was recently diagnosed with ALS. After a visit at the Mayo Clinic, they decided she has probably had it since 9/11 but the symptoms were always written off as something else. She has declined rapidly in the past six months and is now in a wheelchair and will probably need a feeding tube by next spring. This was inspired (is inspired the right word for negative inspiration?) an incident that occured to her back in October (when she could still walk somewhat).


  1. Anonymous3:57 PM

    I'm sorry to hear that about your friend. All I can do is pray. Hugs to you. Poignant poem.

  2. It is hard. A once upon a time friend recently was diagnosed and also went down hill very quickly. She refuses to see anyone at all. It is hard.

  3. I left a comment yesterday about Jane but I guess it didn't take...
    I am so sorry that your friend has to go through this terrible illness I am praying for her comfort...
    does she have children?

  4. I'm sorry to hear the bad news.

  5. Anonymous8:00 AM

    It is very hard to watch someone you care about lose so much. I pray for God's grace in her life and the life of her family & friends as they travel this road.