Lindsay Lewis

English/ ESL consultant: Word worker, writer, teacher, mentor and poet. Author of This Won’t Hurt a Bit! on writing clear content.

FOLDING: A poem by Lindsay Lewis

Posted by on Feb 3, 2020

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.

FOLDING

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.