Spiritual Care Counselor Bette Birnbaum is often moved to poetry by her experiences with families in hospice. Here is one of her recent poems:


Like carnival barkers the daughters announced,
“Come meet our mother, the Levitating Lady,”
So I stepped right up to her bedside
where they conjured up their late father,
a magician,
and told how she, once a librarian,
became the woman he shot out of a cannon.
More times than they could count.

Dressed in leotards,
they toured America
watching their parents’ trailer full of smoke and mirrors
bounce along behind the car
and delighting small-town crowds
eager for the sleight-of-hand offered by the charismatic couple,
he suave in a tux and she glittering in sequins.
They made a shiny and spectacular family.
It was a great way to grow up.

The daughters recall life on the road
as the time when their parents seemed immortal
and no one mentioned the illusion
that
their bodies would forever be vital,
their minds clear,
their spirits strong.
Because, why wouldn’t you believe in magic?