Silent Goodbyes

Renee Veldman  4/16/14

The narrow hallway led us past
Behind each one laid the temporary home
of an aged resident.

Sitting on a shelf
in front of the door
of an unknown inhabitant
sat the familiar plastic face
of the characterized  m&m
relaxing on a recliner.

I pulled the dispenser's handle,
and chocolate m&ms
spilled over the lid.

I held them in my hand
and kept them there,
enveloped by my palm,
as we watched a daughter visit a mother,
as we noticed a nurse
caring for an ailing patient.

Colorful shadows
seeped into the creases of my hand
as we walked to her room,
as we opened her door,
as we saw her lying on her bed.
Her fragile bones.
Her frail skin.
I clutched them tighter

She tried to speak,
but instead wrote it in her notepad.
Her voice was lost in the midst of her pain,
and try as she might
she could not find it.

When we left my great-grandmother,
with a  hug and written goodbye,
the m&ms were still lodged in my hand.
Colorful stains
imprinted on my skin.

On the way out
I spotted the candy dispenser.
I pulled the lever
once again
and I watched as the m&ms
filled up the tray
and canopied over.

But instead of picking them up,
I left them there.

I left them there.

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