BlazeVOX Books publisher Geoffrey Gatza announced today that Garrison Keillor will read a poem that was published by the local company on Wednesday's version of the popular program "The Writer's Almanac." The poem, Burt Kimmelman's "Old Age Home," is reprinted with permission below. Listen to Keillor read the poem here.
The ride from Manhattan — slipping her
into the passenger seat, swinging
in her legs, shutting the door — to the
suburbs of New Jersey, its trees and
freshly-painted houses, was as neat
as her empty apartment. We placed
some photos on her table, hung up
a few paintings on the walls, arranged
some of her sculptures here and there, plugged
in lamps and the television set.
We made our way along the hallway
to a room full of sun, where people
were gathered to talk a little, though
she had nothing to say. There was a
stereo playing music, and once
in a while someone sang the lyrics,
which had returned from some dim region —
a man seated in an easy chair
had wanted, years ago, "a girl just
like the girl who married dear old Dad."
We went to dinner. Someone poured her
a glass of juice. She ate, spilling food,
with a sudden hunger. Afterward
we sat on some couches. Someone asked
her to dance. The music played. She danced
with slight, tentative steps, a tulip
too heavy for its stem. When we had
to go we kissed goodnight, and left her
to lie down in her soft bed, her head
on her pillow, to slip into sleep.