Children Now

The hospital has become the nursery
where she learns to care for this fragile man;
learns to hold this over-tired woman
remembering how she held her children.

The tower of strength, yet the most in need,
her father shrinks – no longer six foot three –
the Viking king and lord of his manor,
has grayed; there’s a slight stoop in his shoulders.

Mother, matriarch of a brood, worries,
looks lost, longing for his strength to return.
Her concern centers on him – if she goes
will he survive the absence of her love?

Shelving frustration, a trick she learned once
long ago, their daughter smiles away fear
reassures them she’s here, always will be –
she speaks to her parents as children now.