Traveling Cajalco Road to See You in Corona – by Cora McCann Liderbach

You lie, bed raised, in a sunny stucco neighborhood
sipping green tea, nibbling strawberries and papaya

         from your husband’s hand, softly apologize
for the crude needs your illness foists upon you.

Say I’d rather be the one people depend on.
For so long, you toiled for others—in homes

         For the disabled, counselor for troubled teens, keeper
of faith, wrestler of troubles—in Ohio, France, India,

Canada, finally rooting yourself, family rock,
in this desert suburb of L.A.

         We follow a serpentine highway from Best Western
through thirsty hills dotted with homes, palms

and cacti. Beyond a turn rises the blue surprise
of Lake Mathews, chain-link barring wanderers.

         Before the pandemic, you and I wandered a sunlit alley
in Laguna Beach, passed a giant statue

of the World War II sailor kissing the woman
in Times Square. A sign—two scarves for the price of one

         drew us through a doorway. You fondled soft fabric
while I chose a grey tasseled, a red patterned scarf.

Next day, you rose early to scramble eggs—scrumptious.
I cook them very slowly over low heat, you explained.

         Now we scramble eggs “Susan’s way”in Cleveland
and you’ve hung up your frying pan in Corona,

can no longer tend to guests, like the five stepchildren
you took in from Panama.

         We roll your wheelchair through a Tuscan yellow living room
and you whisper, I love this house so much.

Later, your husband spoons Sinemet, applesauce, honey, garlic
and vitamin C into your mouth, says Your illness

         allows us the gift of compassion. You murmur, He treats me
like a queen. We say goodbye at dusk.

The smog-skirted peaks beyond Mountain View Park
are ghostly, pink. Along Cajalco Road,

         California peppertrees and Towani pine stud
the scrub-stubbled hills, grasses sere and sunburnt.

Cora McCann Liderbach is a poet from Lakewood, Ohio. Her work has recently appeared in the Ohio Poetry Association’s journal, Common Threads; in The Orchard Street Press’ journal, Quiet Diamonds; Hole in the Head Review; OpenDoor Magazine; and Last Stanza Poetry Journal. One of her poems was nominated for Best of the Net.