- Arrival at Riverstone
“Only a sparrow,” she said. But I thought its song was lovely.
Then we went inside. People greeted usand smiled, but none was my father. You could see
that in her face. Strangers all.They shuffled behind walkers and canes, pointing
out the dining hall, the crafts hall, the oversized flat-screenfor weekend movies. We trudged down the corridor
past the rec room, where an old man leaning on a pool tableused his cane for a cue. Room 515. Last on the left.
Her name was misspelled on the door. She grumbled in.
Her bed was there, a dresser, two tables, her TV attachedto the cable, a few photos hung to warm things up.
“This place is full of old people,” she said.A short period of adjustment is not uncommon,
meaning nothing would be quite as it should.The place was hot. I crossed the room to crack the window.
Ten feet away a small nest balancedin the limbs of a dogwood. All she had to do was look. [End Page 462]
david bottoms is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently We Almost Disappear; two novels; and the essay collection The Onion’s Dark Core: A Little Book of Poetry Talk. He lives with his wife and daughter in Atlanta, where he holds the Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters at Georgia State University and served as Georgia’s poet laureate from 2000 to 2012.