The Mower at the VA Hospital

Our mower is young and broad-shouldered:
so were we. Love confuses him as it once did us;
the pain he feels he believes to be genuine.
He even believes it to be pain.
The tiny pink man from Verdun has shit his bed,
the handless man scratches his face like a housecat,
the mower mows and our grief is where it was.

We remember some things, but nothing
so exact as form or color or disposition.
All day the wards are dark, while night wears
paper shoes and speaks in insect languages.
Its milky light is sticky and inescapable;
it seals us up. Death is also a mower,
but our mower doesn't know a thing about death.

From Watching Cartoons Before Attending a Funeral by John Surowiecki. Copyright © 2003 by John Surowiecki. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.