Sterile. Some may describe it that way but no matter how much chemical you put on it, the smell of decay is there.
They all smell the same. Human, in all of its scent textures, past and future.
"I don't look like much. I won't sit in this bed with curlers in my hair that is just tacky."
A man shuffles down the hall, captured for a moment in the doorway. The tennis balls on the legs of his walker are bright green, as if they are fresh out of the can, never having the chance to see the court. Baggy white hospital pants and a blue flannel robe, big eyes behind thick glasses. He looks in, looks back, moves on.
My extended family rings the room, in chairs, on counters, in the floor on the cold tile. I stand against a wall. Holding it up.
"Is he male?"
She is talking about me, in the midst of a conversation with my cousin on Vegas. He reaches over grabbing a handful of keys in my pocket, jangling them, out of sight where she can't turn far enough in her bed to see.
"Yep mammaw, he has all his parts," he replies.
Family laughs, but she is serious. As serious as a few minutes later when she rants about the atheist ruining Christmas, making us all take our trees down on Christmas day. Or when she says its been 25 years since she last had sex or when she looks at the family portrait we gave her for Christmas and wants to know where we were going hunting.
The fall. The breaking. The pain. The medication. These are things we can blame for this addled-ness. And the laughter, perhaps to hide the sadness, of marbles rolling haphazardly across the floor.
My youngest tugs my hand toward the door, wanting to leave. Me, just to breathe.
They all smell the same.
Poetry Jam ~ Theme Thursday
The title is a play on this song by Sweet Billy Pilgrim