A Writing on the Net SM
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Sympathy for the Devil
By Lynne Mercer
Copyright 2000 Lynne Mercer

 A poem about a bedridden man's thoughts, especially about his caregiver.

You lie there, in your bed in the darkened room, aghast
at what you've done to yourself. No sympathy for her,
the woman who has tended you, a cipher. The range around
you is barren but for the covers soft against your face.
Eyes shut dry weeping for the boy you were. The range is barren. You cannot cross it. You cannot let the ribbon edge escape
your cheek. You cannot draw the blankets back and thrust
your legs out to the cold and go and tell her you're sorry.
The range is barren. Old is not what you thought it would be: smiling,
sitting in the sun. Old cloaked in well-washed woolens rubs satin
against your mouth to tame the keen for pardon.
Perhaps she will come in again, reenter the darkened
room and ask if you want tea. Then, if she opens
the door, you can confess you miss her hand against
your brow checking in.