Pearl in Bubble Wrap

2 Jan

by Paul Hostovsky

She’s pretty deaf and pretty blind and pretty
in an octogenarian sort of way, her hair completely
white, and pulled back tight from her high smooth forehead.
If staring at the blind is rude, I must be downright
scurrilous. Scurrilous piety, this kneeling down in front of
her wheelchair, to tie her shoelace which has come untied,
then sitting back down across from her to stare
some more. Snap, snap, snap, goes the bubble wrap
in her mottled fist, her fingers thirsting after the next
and the next explosion under thumb. I can see on her face
how sensual, how satisfying this sensation is for her
whose sensations are mostly tactile now that she’s pretty
deaf and pretty blind and pretty alone here at the nursing home
where they can’t communicate with her. So they give her
the bubble wrap, lots of it, to keep her busy, happy, maybe even
joyful, bursting joy’s grape over and over, getting her
eighty-year-old ya-ya’s out in her wheelchair parked
in front of my eyes. And I can’t help wondering
how much bubble wrap she’s gone through in the days
and weeks and months she’s been here, how many miles of it
she’s consumed. She’s probably been to the moon and back
on her fingertips, dancing along the backs of these plastic
turtles, leaping across these disappearing stones, these rivers
of bubble wrap, oceans of bubble wrap. “Pearl!” I shout
into her good ear, the one with the cochlear implant. “I have
to get going now!” She looks up vaguely, pauses briefly from
the pursuit of more pleasure in her lap. I give her a kiss
and head for the elevator. Once inside, I push the Lobby button
several times before it lights up. Then I worry the Braille beside it
with my index finger, all the long way down to the street.

 

Paul Hostovsky is a sighted Braille instructor in Boston. He is also the author of three books of poetry, Bending the Notes (2008), Dear Truth (2009), and A Little in Love a Lot (2011). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net 2008 and 2009. To read more of his work, visit his website at www.paulhostovsky.com .

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One Response to “Pearl in Bubble Wrap”

  1. Jeff Flodin January 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM #

    Another gem.

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