Mrs. Calabrezi

by Jan Bruckner

		They wheeled her in
		Grey and sunken
		Wearing a terry white robe
		Frail and fetal
		A receding spark
		In a crumble of decay

		Chart in hand I inquired
		Would you like to dance, Mrs. Calabrezi?
		And out of the terry and blankets came a giggle,
		   An adolescent night-of-the-prom giggle
		   Of yellow crinoline and sweet gardenia
		   Of Mr. Wonderful, shy and nervous,
		   Peachfuzy chin and rented tux,
		   Of lemonade, lanterns
		   And a hot moon-June evening.
		   He took her empty cup and replaced it
		   with a small black box.
		   A box of white sparkle
  		   A box of promise for a lifetime of sharing.
		   Would you like to dance, Mrs. Calabrezi?

		A hand of waxpaper skin
		     reached up to touch thin
                     uncombed hair
                           once adorned by a yellow

		She giggled.

		I wheeled her over to the parallel bars
		Locked the chair
		And Mrs. Calabrezi stood up.

Jan Bruckner is a physical therapist working in Boston. Mrs. Calabrezi (not her real name) was one of her patients.