Daniel Shaw

Something There

They sit lethargic in their chairs,
Yet there must be something there.
Hidden beneath a crinkled face
And eyes that see with vacant stare,
Yes, there must be something there.

Their chairs roll round with little sound.
And once the brake is taken off,
They play games with half-conscious minds,
Worn by the rough passage of time.

It’s hard to find what’s underneath,
But that is why I’ve come to ask:
Who are you? What did you do?
Where is your family? Do they love you?
Tell me your story, I sit and wait,
Eager to listen and ready to learn.
There must be something there.

The stories play in endless loop,
Trapped in yesterday’s sunlight.
Photographs with yellowed edges
Form in a collage of moments,
Caught in the spider web of the present.
Some break through the empty stare,
So surely there must be something there.

And so I wonder, what will I do,
Stuck in a nursing home, just like you?
With nothing to do and little to see,
And no one to visit and much less to be.
Thus old age haunts, a specter of void.
There must be something there.

On Tuesday nights, when I am your age
Some kid may visit, peer into the cage.
We will play chess, on a board that’s set
With a game begun so long ago.
My knights may be gone and my queen departed,
Still the game means the world, even if I can’t tell him.
There is something there,
As the lights dim and the edges fade into the dark.


Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.