Our Commitment to You

 
A poem for SCLO created by Albuquerque’s inaugural poet laureate,
Hakim Bellamy (November 2016)

 

Declaration of Interdependence

for the Senior Citizen’s Law Office:

 

 Consider this a thank you note,

years in the making,

just like you.

Unfolded

from every pouch,

purse and pocket,

careful

to preserve every single wrinkle.

They say we can never actually repay our elders,

but that should never stop us from trying,

especially while you are currently more than capable

of cashing in on our care…

So consider this a love letter,

with a word count that is irrelevant,

because like birthdays

we lost count a long time ago.

Because every dawn

is a celebration of gratitude

and you are the guest of honor.

We are ombudsman

circled at the foot of your flower

carrying nothing but compassion

and candles to see you through the dusk.

We are your village

for every child you helped raise

that wasn’t yours.

The bridge of your shoulders

we’ve walked across so long

that your time

has become our time and our turn,

while the finish line is nigh

to hoist you up

above our heads

and crowd surf you to the finish line.

This is an oath,

to the mapmakers…

your one person expedition into the great unknown

the 91st, second and third year

we’ll only ever get to see if we are as fortunate

or as impervious as you.

This is a salute

to every single living treasure

whose ever-ticking ticker marks the spot.

We pledge to

be your champion for liberties

you liberated some fifty-odd years ago.

To preserve the gold in “years”

by protecting the gold in your pocket.

To never leave you house-less

until you are ready and willing

to deed the farm.

To advocate

for our original advocates.

For every single fever you ever broke,

every oatmeal bath you’ve ever drawn.

We are extremely honored

to be the coming home remedy

you are depending upon.

We enthusiastically accept this charge

To make sixty

the new sexy…

And for you we swear

to make love

our only four letter verb.

To put the power of attorney

into hands of the elderly who’ve earned it,

to ensure that your end of life wishes

are brought into existence.

And your parting gifts are given

in the manner you intended.

From consumer protections

to same sex couples’ benefits

because “alone”

shouldn’t be the punishment for outliving

those who have your best interests

in mind.

We vow

in sickness and in health to provide…

To provide more than company,

to provide community,

to cultivate a culture

of caregivers

and caretakers.

To respect

those that taught us what that word means

by investing in their piece

of mind

one act of peace

and dignity

at a time.

To never leave you behind

because we share this future,

this now

in all its present tense,

this today,

the future you’ve been been behind the wheel of

from memory to moment

even after your driving privileges were taken away.

To remind ourselves

that we may be your legacy,

but our living legacy is how we treat you.

And in 20 or so years…

the generation after you

will consider this de ja vu…

but until then…

consider this “Hello”

the intervention to your “Goodbye”

This “good morning”

a most welcome disruption to

your record breaking streak of “good nights”

Consider this a “never to late” to call us, calling card

just in the nick of time.

Consider this “all the things we wanted to say”

to all the people we want to stay.

Consider this a declaration of interdependence

because we have the inalienable right

to age gracefully…together.

Consider this a promise

from the Senior Citizen’s Law Office

that you’ll never grow old

on your own.

 

© Hakim Bellamy November 29th, 2016

 

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