FOLDING: A poem by Lindsay Lewis
I wrote this poem as a tribute to a woman I met when I worked as a nurse’s aide. She was young- in her fifties- a remarkable pianist, and stricken with dementia. She passed her time organizing our linen carts, and occasionally had lucid moments in which we could engage in brilliant conversation. Her husband was a devoted, loving man who took the ferry every day to visit her. I was deeply moved by this experience.
There was a woman I once knew
confined to the wing of a ward
in a hospital
doomed at fifty to a life of folding.
Standing placidly, benign crease of a smile on her face,
oblivious bliss to seasons and death
a life reduced to perfect squares and triangles
I know something of her lot in life
folding the corners of myself
like hospital sheets to make them fit
an origami angel, arms arching blindly
my white wings a handkerchief
in your starched white shirt.