Poetry — December 3, 2012 12:35 — 3 Comments

Elder Care – Kirby Wright

Mark sticks his mother Mary in a kennel beside the television.  It’s the best solution, he thinks, easier than having her run loose around the house getting into trouble.  Once he caught her painting on the wall like Rembrandt.  Another time she was out back chewing a daffodil.  “Bad Mummy,” Mark scolded.  Mary’s grown accustomed to the cramped kennel quarters and spends most of her time dreaming.  Sometimes Mark sees her kicking legs and flailing arms as if she’s running.

Mark keeps the curtains closed.  He feeds Mary macaroni & cheese out of his dead dog’s bowl morning, noon, and night.  A special treat is chili.  Once in a blue moon Mary gets barbecue.  She laps water from a teacup.  He takes her for walks in the backyard using her new rhinestone collar.  She lifts her leg over jasmine.  “Good Mummy,” says Mark, “let it all out.”  He opens the curtains every full moon, weeps in his boyhood room as Mary claws the kennel and howls.


Kirby Wright was a Visiting Fellow at the 2009 International Writers Conference in Hong Kong, where he represented the Pacific Rim region of Hawaii. He was also a Visiting Writer at the 2010 Martha’s Vineyard Residency in Edgartown, Mass., and the 2011 Artist in Residence at Milkwood International, Czech Republic. He is the author of the companion novels PUNAHOU BLUES and MOLOKA’I NUI AHINA, both set in the islands.


  1. Nikki Wilkinson says:

    good thing Mark had macaroni & cheese

  2. What a heart touching story! Kirby Wright is really a very superb author.

  3. Gary Renneckar says:

    Insightful and succint evaluation of the attitudes toward the elderly.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney