Before I Leave

It was one of those days. Bill was cranky because his computer wasn’t working, and I didn’t have time to deal with that because I needed to get us both fed and me to my monthly poetry class. At first, he said he didn’t want lunch. Then, he said he’d have vegetable beef soup. I opened a can for him and fixed myself a sandwich. Then, he said he didn’t want the soup because it didn’t have any beef. I laugh now when I think about this because it reminds me of the old woman in the McDonald’s commercials who asked where the beef was in the hamburgers. I offered to trade Bill his soup for my sandwich. Unfortunately, the sandwich wasn’t cut in half so he could more easily eat it with one hand, and it fell apart, and he decided he didn’t want anything more to eat.

In the midst of all this, the Para transit service arrived to take me to the senior center for my monthly poetry class. I told the driver I didn’t expect to be picked up for another half hour and wasn’t ready to leave. Could she come back? She said she would try. She didn’t return for another hour, and by that time, Bill was happily ensconced in his recliner, surrounded by chocolate and other comforts, and I was pacing the floor, growing more and more frustrated by the  minute.

Needless to say, I was late to my poetry class. Everyone else had started the in-class writing activity we usually do at the beginning of the period. The instructor suggested I write about what was frustrating me. What came out was the following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver.


Before I Leave


 He’s cranky, doesn’t want lunch,

then asks for vegetable beef soup.

It has no beef.

I give him my sandwich.

It falls apart.

He gives up on lunch.


As I’m leaving, he’s reclining,

a chocolate in his mouth, a bag of almonds on his lap.

His good arm encircles my neck.

We laugh, as we kiss goodbye.


 Now, it’s your turn. Think of something frustrating that happened to you, and share it in the comment field below. If you want, you can write a poem about it. I think you’ll find that writing it out in one form or another is a great way to vent.


Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at:

4 thoughts on “Before I Leave”

  1. If Job had a computer,

    With Windows 98,

    I'm sure he would have exploded,

    In a burst of violent hate.

    Patience is a vertue,

    "So the sages say,

    But why should I spend my time,

    Defragging half the day.

    Never am I happy,

    When the power button I press,

    For Windows 98,

    Is one frustrating mess.

    A day will soon be coming,

    When I'll rejoice and laugh,

    When I take that program's CD-ROM,

    And snap the wretch in half.


  2. Hi Bruce, this gave me a good laugh. I'm trying to remember if this particular day was before we had Bill's computer updated from Windows 98 to XP. That might have explained the problems he was having with his computer that morning. Thanks for sharing this.


  3. There I was, microwaving a nice bowl of rice, with a quarter stick of butter in it. Just imagine it, all piping hot, and begging to be eaten. I shook a little pepper into the bowl, then grabbed the salt shaker for a couple shakes. I tipped the shaker upside down over the bowl, and heard a pouring sound. I had opened the wrong end of the shaker. The open pouring end was open, and within half a second, I emptied half of the shaker into the bowl. I am sure that the screams are still circling somewhere over Toronto. Needless to say, into the trash it went. Such a waste of rice. Such a waste of butter. Such a waste of salt. Sigh.  Oh well. I guess I'll heat up a blueberry bagel instead.


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