In ten years…a soft reprieve

The lithe little girl takes my hand

and leads me gingerly to the garden.

Her delicate face, with her mother’s soft eyes,

glimmers in the will-o-wisp light.


My brittle bones welcome the sun’s warmth.

I drag my heavy feet along the path,

my body both rooted to the earth 

and prone to teetering into it.


The elfin 10-year-old is kind-hearted

and patient as I totter along.

Her mother reminds her to hold my hand,

not to let me fall.


We settle into our ritual

touching the leaves of the 

furry lambs ear, rubbery fig and smooth dogwood.

We pick a ripe lemon.


We stop to smell the honeysuckle’s

sweet yellow and white blooms.

We pause at the dazzling pink azalea bush 

and imagine curling up together inside a blossom.


She is sprightly like a woodland fairie 

at home among the trees and pansies.

When the golden-crowned sparrow cheeps,

I think I see her wings emerge.


Our spirited imaginations 

blanket the truth of my unyielding state.

The wonders we share

cushion my life’s razor-sharp reality. 



Used by permission of the author.

Tara Broderick

Tara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014. Post retirement from an executive role with Planned Parenthood, she pursued certification ...more