Traveling to Visit Mom with My Bad Knees by Luanne Castle

Traveling to Visit Mom with My Bad Knees

We’ve spent the night in the guest room
of my mother’s retirement community
and dress to meet Mom at the café
downstairs for eggs and buttered toast.
Her room is only four down, but Sunday
mornings are busy so she will hold a table.
I hadn’t argued because she likes a purpose.
The bathroom light goes off, the TV too.
My husband’s shaver is dead in his hand.
In the hall, a handful of women are peeking
out their doors or sliding their walkers
along the carpet. Their faces are question
marks, just as I imagine mine.
With his still-good knees, my husband
walks down two flights of stairs and back up
to share the news that the entire campus
is without power—even the nursing home.
The café is closed, the dining room is closed,
but the taunting scent of breakfast lingers.
Everyone is hungry, and one tiny woman
asks me what to do for her diabetes.
My husband helps her find the way down.
As time goes on, women wander the halls,
jam the only generator-powered elevator.
Some are grumblers, some frustrated:
With what we pay!! I can see myself in them.
Some are meek, and that would be me, too.


Luanne Castle’s award-winning full-length poetry collections are Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line 2022) and Doll God (Kelsay 2015). Her chapbooks are Our Wolves (Alien Buddha 2023) and Kin Types (Finishing Line 2017), a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Bending Genres, Copper Nickel, Pleiades, Saranac Review, Verse Daily, and other journals.

8 thoughts on “Traveling to Visit Mom with My Bad Knees by Luanne Castle

  1. Oh, wow. What a nightmare! And you with bad knees, too.
    So sorry – but I am with you in that place. At least my mom shuffled along in her walker with the lights on. Bless your hearts.

  2. I always find it difficult to visit a nursing home and see what our fate may be as we age. So scary. What a crazy experience with the power going out on the entire campus and the nursing home. ” What we pay!” It is a fortune!! ( yes everything on my blog meets gluten free standards)

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