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Volunteer, a poem by Casey O'Leary

by Casey O’Leary

If I help out at the nursing home, I see G.G. 
once a week, so I deliver laundry, hanging
cheap cotton button downs in identical closets. Raspy 
barks overpower my shy whispers in conversation; thankfully
old people sleep a lot. I nudge doors open with my 
breath stuck in my throat, quickly stuff faded white t-shirts 
into plastic drawers with trembling fingers. I bear witness 
to the slow slide of aging, drool inching along wrinkled skin, 
labored breaths marking the minutes. The laundry is light.
My heart does the heavy lifting.

From Casey O'Leary: "I am a poet and playwright living in Indianapolis. My play All Is Forgiven was produced as part of the 2017 Short Play Festival at IndyFringe, and I blog at I work as a children's librarian in Mooresville, Ind."