Assisted by ambulatory friends,
the ladies parade the hall
in wheelchairs, around and around.
The one in the lead
clutches a rabbit in her lap
and wears a look which means
this is one bunny going nowhere.
Someone has fashioned a hat
for each of them
and they are festive, indeed,
in their brightly flowered robes
and caps made out of Dondi,
Dick Tracy, and Mary Worth.
The parade ends just outside
the recreation hall
where Mrs. Sternum is playing
"The Old Rugged Cross,"
bringing it home for Jesus,

and where Mr. Wallis
is trying to watch TV.
Around him, wheelchairs
are crashing, their batteries dead,
but Mr. Wallis is cheering
for Charlton Heston who, as Ben Hur,
is hell-bent, barely avoiding
the nasty axles of Marsalas,
who used to be his friend.
"Go, you son-of-a-bitch!"
hollers Mr. Wallis,
and Ben Hur will win,
as he always does,
but against great odds,
for his chariot wheels
churn backward, as if in a dream,
toward the beginning,
the part before Jesus.

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