by J. Eliza Wall

My parents are getting old and this is how I know.

I’m constantly walking in on one of them

In the nick of time, just as they need my help.

My dad struggling in the living room trying to put a TigerBalm patch on his lower back,

The spot that is hard to reach – alone

The relief sticking to the tops of his Fruit of the Loom elastic waste band

Instead of pain,

Like watching a turtle rock on it’s back

I fling open the door and rectify the situation.

Then there is my mom struggling in her room,

The low night light casting long shadows as sh tries to put on her Joe Boxer underwear

With her reacher, she can’t bend,

She needs go-go-gadget arms.

I walk in with a permission slip for her to sign,

But I lay it aside to hike up those plain boy-shorts,

Relieved that she’s done with wearing thongs and that she’s alive.

My knees weaken as the cloth slides over her staples on her right hip and the faint sharpie

Of where they were supposed to cut.

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