As a young clinical psychologist
recruited to provide psychotherapy
to a resident in a nursing home,
I found an unsmiling old man in bed
with ice cold hands even though
morning sun shone over bed and body.
At bedside was a small aquarium
sent by his only son in South Africa.
It had 2 seahorses struggling to survive
in murky, algae-infested green salt water.
His sex hung unbidden in sagging diapers.
The light had gone out of bloodshot eyes;
nails were untrimmed and a forest of hair
sprouted in his ears and nose.
Clouds of spittle flowed my way as he mumbled
that since his wife died, life was nothing but a carbuncle
on his big toe, and he just waited to die as soon as he could.
Refusing to try anti-depressant medications,
and reluctant to tell me anything about his life,
except that he had been a New York cab driver,
and once was a Golden Gloves lightweight boxer.
They can ring the bell all they want,
but I’m not getting up to go another round.
Leave me alone and get out of here!