A Poem from Navigating the Old Road




she said to me across the small

round table in the clattering coffee shop

on what had been a normal Tuesday morning.


No! I wanted to cover my ears,

but I watched the foul words leak from her lips

and fill the room

like a thick fog in a ghostly creep,

changing reality

and hanging there, heavy and cold.


She was brave, determined, even positive,

and I wanted to shore her up,

bolster her courage,

but all that came to mind

were tired bromides and empty platitudes,

so I swallowed them,

their putrid taste expanding

the lump in my throat.


Instead, I simply reached out to her.

As I covered her cold hands with mine,

I realized with horrified certainty

that variations of this scene

would replay themselves

multiple times

in these autumn years.


460spenceJan Spence’s writing ranges from humorous, poignant, and tongue-in-cheek to raw reality. She is the author of Navigating the Old Road and has work appearing in Texas Poetry Calendar (2013), A Book of the Year (2009, 2011, and 2013), Versivico (2008), Red River Review, Collections (I, II, and III), The Senior Voice and others. She lives in Texas with her husband and cat where she enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, visiting with family, traveling and, of course, writing poems.

“I’ve been diagnosed…” is one of her poems from Navigating the Old Road.

Be Sociable, Share!

Articles & Posts