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Poetry and Medicine
September 7, 2005

The Golden Years

JAMA. 2005;294(9):1006. doi:10.1001/jama.294.9.1006

We are in Sy Rothman’s
 “Golden Years” shop
in Boca Raton,
 buying a transfer handle
for your father’s bed.
 A cardboard cut-out
of a smiling old gent—
 Rothman himself, perhaps?—
beckons us
 to endless rows
of incontinence pads
 and compression hose;
to easy-rise toilet seats,
 comfort cushions,
and toe-spreaders
 for bunioned feet.
At the lift-chair display
 someone’s Uncle Gus
glides up and down,
 up and down.
One glimpse of the abyss
 is enough for us.
We hustle back
 to your father’s flat
and unpack
 the clunky box.
Your father smiles
 from the good side
of his mouth,
 and says,
“Just like Christmas.”