Scrabble with My Mom       

rainy days at the cottage
     unbeknownst at the time
         became rehearsals
             for the year of Dadís demise

Mom and I played Scrabble in waiting rooms
     sometimes setting up the board
         on Dadís walker or whatever grotty coffee table

at the Pace-maker Clinic, the Urgent Care Center
     at the Emergency Room at Health Sciences once for three days straight
         inside a curtained cubicle where correctional officers
             scolded the frightened stoned addict beside us
                 and attendants mopped up bodily fluids

at the Victoriaís Geriatric Assessment Ward over Christmas
     and at Interim Care at the Misericordia while awaiting placement
         in the personal care home called Calvary Place

we played Scrabble there too
     and in the Orthopedic Ward at the Grace after the broken hip
our mobile board, worn letters making doubles, sometimes triples
     steady hands calming the journey, tallying the score

now this year, my own surgery

     Iím summoned through the anesthetic haze
     ice chips offered, my name called

     Is there anything you need?

yes, a hoarse whisper---

     I need
         to play Scrabble
             with my Mom