Pauletta Hansel


Look at us now.
My mother finally bound
to her wheelchair (that's how
they like it in the nursing home.)
She thinks she is walking,
one foot and then the other,
her lumbering four-wheeled
body follows and behind her
trails Miss Push-Me-Pull-Me—
that's what she muttered at me yesterday,
a sudden spark that flew my meddling hands
down from the handles of her chair.
And even when we sit together,
fingers entwined, she pushes back away,
I pull her toward me,
memorize her face,
the folds beside her eyes,
the lips that purse now
for a kiss, a dab of oatmeal
in one corner. I say,
I love you, Mom
and then she's off again,
we hover one side and the other
of the teeter-totter air.

Pauletta Hansel's poems and prose have been featured in journals including Kudzu, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage and Still: The Journal, and on The Writers Almanac and American Life in Poetry. She is author of five poetry collections, most recently Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015.) Pauletta is co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Recently named Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate, Pauletta leads writing workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond.

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