Stealthily. One day that quiver in your ring
Finger. Or my impatience at your squiggling
Such illegible notes. Just your astonishment
Noticing the absence of an old lineament.
Once speedy genes, high-geared and fleet;
At twelve the school’s swiftest athlete.
The oils of movement slower to lubricate.
Stiffness, a tremor, that off-balance gait.
A specialist confirms Parkinson’s disease.
Failing dopamine. The brain’s vagaries.
Then moments of denial. Again so strong
And confident: Those doctors got it wrong.
Your fright is pleading with me to agree.
I bat for time: Maybe, we’ll have to see.
What can I do? These arms enfold you.
No matter what, I have and hold you.
And so you must travel painful spendthrift
Windings of acceptance. Giving turns gift.
Together. But is there a closer closeness?
Yet another shift in love’s long process.
Flustered now by stress,
A need for time,
Days planned, a gentler pace;
Any breeze shivers in your limbs,
My aspen mistress.
Hardy, deep-rooted, light-loving
You learn to endure.
Pioneer tree in fallow or clearing.
A random sigh flutters in your leaves:
O God, I’m tired of shaking
Often I wake early to taps on my pillow.
Last evening’s tablet at the end of its tether
Your forefinger begins its morning tremolo
As if counting in sleep hours lain together.
I think at first you’d pitied an over eagerness,
My jittery hand that spilled half your coffee;
A headstrong giant-killer wobbly and nervous
That slowly over time you’d steadied in me.
Blurs and transfers between fellow travellers.
I couldn’t but see your half flirtatious sidelong
Glance at me that both asks and reassures:
Even if I shake I think my spirit is young?
Our years side by side tongued and grooved.
A face is beautiful once a face is loved.