Book by eleven, pay by twelve.
Are you diabetic? No?
It’s roast pork, today.
I pay and look for a vacant chair.
The room, awash with bent grey heads
and the busy chatter of dentures;
noise only silenced when lunch is served.
Chewing concentrates the mind.
Walking-aids stand patiently
beside their owners.
Taking the weight off one’s feet
removes a nice chunk of years.
A man in a shapeless cardigan
lightly flirts, still gallant.
Defiant earrings reign above
chins and busts responding to gravity.
Oh! Oh! Dorothy’s slipping.
Up-sa-daisy. Alright, dear?
Young helpers, all compassion,
think it’s a long way off.
Time for Bingo…eyes down;
blot out the numbers like bad memories.
Pot plant or Tetley tea-bags?
The real prize is shrinking the hours.
Everyone’s a winner!
Confidences offered, open portholes
into each other’s lives. We glimpse
the children, the women, the lovers;
reminds us of the people we were.
Now, we face what we have become;
still waking each day to the unknown,
we are survivors. Looking back,
we wonder how?
Everyone, a hero!