Fathom Mag


Published on:
July 12, 2022
Read time:
1 min.
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One broken bone can disrupt the whole of life
when you’re old and frail. One break has sent my mom
to rehabilitation. Each day, she devotes an hour to relearning
how to stand and step and sit, guided like a ship
that sailed the seas but, near the pier, needs a tugboat’s aid.

Praised profusely for her progress, Mom’s directed
by the staff back to dry dock, the room in which she waits
another day, until the next excursion.

I come to visit there. We aren’t alone:
another broken body shares the space. Sentimental music
splatters soulless through the separating curtain,
and I’m annoyed since it is Holy Week and I had planned
to listen to Good Friday’s service with my mom.
Undeterred, I ask my phone to play the melancholy liturgy,
but its small voice is not enough to block the neighbor’s
mawkish noise from gushing all around us. I’m perturbed

. . . and then surprised, since partway through, a quiet comes,
and as we sing the Passion songs, another voice floats
through the veil to join our offerings of grief and lamentation.

The service ends.
I pull the curtain back and meet a woman who holds
with us a common hope: that Friday’s broken bodies
will someday be repaired.
For now, we have assurance and each other.

Robert Ritzema
Robert Ritzema is a psychologist by profession, partly retired now, living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, providing assistance for my elderly mother. He comes from a Reformed background and has been writing poetry as a spiritual practice for approximately thirty years.

Cover image by USGS

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