“Survival of the Fittest”

I may
be old
and
look old
but
I keep
myself
busy.

Every day
I sit
in
my wheelchair
across
from the
life care facility
elevator
where I
make notes
as
people
come and go.

10:13 a.m.
Woman
with
cheap purse
scuffed shoes.
Visitor
or
job applicant?

10:32 a.m.
Middle-aged couple.
Expensive
clothes.
Talk about
his mother’s
estate.

I know
his mother.
She’s mean
enough
to stick around
another
10 years
so she can
spend
it
all.

10:58 a.m.
Couple leaves.
Talk of
how
she’s
failed
since
their last visit.

I know
his mother.
She smears
eye shadow
under her eyes
puts
extra
powder
on her face
when they come.

12: 05 p.m.
My son
arrives.
He’s
always
five minutes
late
on Tuesdays.

He’s a good boy.
Stops by
every day
at
the
same time.

I love my son.
I appreciate
his
daily visits.
But I have
learned
a thing or two
since he
stuck me
in
The Home.

After he leaves
I wash
the eye makeup
and powder
from my face
and ditch
the wheelchair.

Best he not
know
I passed
my
last physical
with
flying colors.

He might change his schedule.

(Written for dVersepoets, MeetingTheBar, February 27, 2014. Brian has us exploring character development in poetry.)

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About vbholmes

V. B. Holmes Is the author of REVERBERATION, THE NOVEL, and has worked as an editor, writer, researcher and artist. Blog, vbreverb.wordpress.com, features poetry and flash fiction.
This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to “Survival of the Fittest”

  1. Definitely a well developed character. I can picture her now. Perfect ending. Any form of manipulation to maintain those cherished visits is justifiable on her part.

  2. I like the mother who’s mean enough to stick around another 10 years. :) Very nice series of character sketches. You said a lot in just a few words per character. Peace, Linda

  3. scrbwly says:

    I really like it. The part about the mother mean enough to stick around to spend it all was a good line. More general note, sometimes those who only look learn the most, captured here well.

  4. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Good observant character studies; nice use of the prompt, and the closing ties it up with a bow. The “Home” probably awaits many of us, tasteless food, demented roommates, staff who barely speak English–like the commercial says, “Peanut butter should be put in the cupboard; people should not be put anywhere.”.

  5. Brian Miller says:

    ugh. suck to be tucked away…i am glad the son comes to visit…i found the sections on knowing their mothers intriguing…i bet taking those notes and thinking of others stories keeps his mind sharp…i kept thinking maybe this would be me one day…

  6. Oh great! I loved the twist at the end :)

  7. jo-hanna says:

    Hahaha…
    yes, i am all for growing old disgracefull

  8. Love all the different characters and that twist you left us with had me smiling.

  9. ehrr 2 Brian: we all think it could be us one day and my day will be sooner……………
    vb: great poem – took the character in sweet and short and the twist at the end was in giving us the viewpoint character complete. Kudos!

  10. lupitatucker says:

    Clever characterization, and clever lady :) The line breaks add to the wisdom of the character, and help build a little suspense until the end.

  11. kkkkaty1 says:

    Portraying her as debilitated, willing to go that far to get his attention…it happens ..they do become our children when our parents get so old..good write

  12. claudia says:

    i’m glad that he comes to visit… sad that she has to powder and that certain fear that he stops visiting…

  13. Such a great sketch of characters .. A complete story – the job applicant (?) was extremely precise. Then how you managed to make a complete story out of it… Very nice

  14. lynndiane says:

    I could hear the elevator door “ping”…conniving, but lovable, cast of characters!

  15. atrm61 says:

    Cool poem and some real characters there;-)Loved the twist in the end-clever old gal!

  16. lucychili says:

    ouch we live strange lives

  17. rmp says:

    This was a fun read. I liked 10:32 am. And of course the ending is priceless.

  18. great cast of characters…I will file away the trick with mascara and powder for future use.

  19. grapeling says:

    another fine write, vb. ~

  20. Eric Alagan says:

    LOL – I suppose it’s better than watching grass grow.

    Cheers,
    Eric

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