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Aunt Bea in the Old Folks Home | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Aunt Bea is 102 so who am I
to contradict her when she
calls Shady Acres
the Old Folks Home
when I visit her once a week
and bring a hot fudge sundae
which she has trouble eating now.
It used to disappear in minutes
with her licking the plastic spoon.

She says they moved her to
this other floor and won’t let her
get out of bed, and although
the nurse told me what
prompted the move, I ask
Aunt Bea why they did it
and she says it’s because
she told Doctor Kuffman
about the bad nurses
and the water problem.

Whenever she asks for
a glass of water, she says,
the nurses take her out back
and put her in the bucket
back on her father’s farm
and lower her into the well
and tell her to get her own
water and to holler when she’s
had enough and they’ll
pull her back up.

But they never do it right
and she’s always thirsty,
Aunt Bea says, and she’s
damn tired of the nurse
who hollers down “how we
doin’ down there, Sweetie”
and then taking an hour
to pull her back up and
she still has no water
because the three of them
in their fancy uniforms
never give her a glass.

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