Third Place – “Last Stand”

Two old warriors shuffle to the table
in the Assisted Living dining room.
Without a word the one without a walker
helps his buddy into a chair,
parks the walker,
then slowly lowers himself
into his own place at the table,
each movement adjusted
to produce the least pain.
Neither speaks.
They know the orders of the day:
fight the last battle with dignity.
It’s the hardest duty they’ve ever drawn.

Barbara Larsen has just finished a two-year term as Door County Poet Laureate. She is presently working on her seventh book: Poet’s Nest: Journal Excerpts and Poetry.

Judge’s Comments:

The poet in “Last Stand” reminds us how we answer a higher calling and how important it is to take care of each other (the best we can) with great dignity.