The Dance
Benjamin Bernier

I am an elderly woman.
When did it happen?
My body aches and my legs betray.
I don't want to leave the bed today.
My family begs, the nurses debate.

A young man, bright and blue-eyed
Charming, and funny.
He asked me to dance.

I accepted his offer.
We took a few steps,
And now I'm in the chair.

I am an elderly woman.
I love to dance.


Author's Note: " I was inspired to write this poem from the view point of an elderly patient that I often find myself reflecting upon. She wasn't under the care of my team. I happened to be in the room to visit and follow-up on my patient, her roommate. I remember that she had her daughter and granddaughter at the bedside, as well as two nurses.  I never fully knew or understood her story.  I recall walking through the room – my quest to reach the bed closest to the window – when I noticed the above party attempting to persuade and bend the will of the elderly woman to move from the bed to the chair. It was a simple three or four step process for most people, but I could see that she was not most people. She was a frail woman with tested reserves  and almost a century of sand in the lower bulb of her life's hourglass.  I persuaded her movement by asking her if she would like to dance with me.  I will never forget her smile, swell of energy, and the vitality that had shown on her face. Today, I feel an enormous reward for what I intuitively did then because, in the moment, I had done what felt natural for me; to use a gossamer of human connection to change a mind.