Some Damn Disease

(for J.D.)

You must have been tempted
to haul your wheelchair
onto the dinner table
at the Christmas party,
shake your fists
at the church ceiling,
and shout angrily,
"It's not friggin' fair."

After a career of public service
protecting a city's children,
you were just merging
onto life's retirement lane.
You had a nice apartment
and a pension,
you were a respected member
of a close-knit community. 

Then Some Damn Disease comes along.
Like Godzilla came to Tokyo.
Like the plague to medieval Europe.

You have explained the disease to me
several times
but I always forget its name.
I call it
"John's Starts-in-the-Knees
and-Just-Gets-Worse Disease."

You didn't complain.
Instead you calmly rearranged your life,
sold your apartment
and moved into the embrace
of your ever-loving Irish family.
So. Life goes on.
You go on,
calm and attentive and --
I can say this as a sometime adversary
in political argument --
tough as titanium.