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The Wheelchair

By Patrick Benson
Copyright 1999 Patrick Benson
 Note: The poem was published in the Asbury Park Press on Sunday, July 18,1999. It is about Patrick's brother and his wheelchair.


There, in front of his house, my brother
Spent his last year in an elegant wheelchair,
A thing of polished black
And burnished chrome.

He was always carefully dressed
Perhaps a steel-gray suit to match
The shock of graying hair,
A white shirt, dark tie, and
A crimson vest for a splash of color.

He'd face you like an Oxford don
holding court.
Knees crossed, right arm flung back,
While his left hand, draped casually
Over the armrest dangled a cigarette
Loosely from the fingertips.

When you posed a question
He'd gaze off, over your right shoulder,
Smiling shyly as he tried to frame
An answer to the question
You should have asked.

His features were gaunt
(Parkinsonism will cause that)
But his probing made you
Forget that one day soon
He’d be taken away
In a grander conveyance
Of polished black and shining chrome.