Waiting for What’s Next

All say, “How hard it is that we have to die” — a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live. ~Mark Twain, American writer

The smell assaults you as you walk in the door:
A blend of disinfectant, urine, and more.
Step into the world of an old folks’ home.

Balding men with once-gray hair
Slump untended in their wheelchair.
Step into the world of an old folks’ home.

Wearing expressions of sadness and gloom
As if they’re gazing into the mouth of a tomb.
Step into the world of an old folks’ home.

Women on walkers in faded clothes;
Thick droopy stockings covering their toes.
Step into the world of an old folks’ home.

Vacant eyes stare straight into space;
Few signs remain of their former grace.
Step into the world of an old folks’ home.

Aging is part of life on this earth.
Shouldn’t we do more to preserve someone’s worth
Than tuck them away, out of sight, out of mind?
To me that’s awful and far from kind.
Letting them vegetate until at last they die.
Waiting for time and life to slip by.

Adult diapers and shapeless sweats,
Hearing aids, oxygen, and thin blankets.
Step into the world of an old folks’ home.

Calling for help and no one shows up.
Staff overworked; hard to catch up.
Step into the world of an old folks’ home.

Hoping for a visit from friends or their kids,
A basket of goodies the doctor forbids.
Step into the world of an old folks’ home.

People live longer these days, I know,
But longer isn’t better, some cases show.
Alone and lonely is no way to live,
Not when all people have something to give.
There’s no easy answer, everyone agrees,
But can’t we at least try to solve it? Please?