Marian Kaplun Shapiro


A recent poll published in Time magazine revealed that 69 percent of Americans believe in angels, and 46 percent of that group believe they have a personal guardian angel. -

                                  I, however,
believe in the electric eye. He
(or she) silent and invisible,
senses my body's presence before
I have to ask for help. By magic, she
(or he) opens the heaviest of doors
as I approach. By magic I am just
like you. By magic I escape
the difference between now and once,
when there was nothing to take into account,
nothing to "accept," nothing to
"get used to."

                 Taking the stairs I'm grateful
for the elevator that will come
if rung for. The ramp that I don't need
just yet. The Hoyer lift for swimmers who
can walk no longer. Maybe for me someday…
Blessings on the shower stall with fold-down
seat, that lets me wash my hair when standing
made me weep. For the Jacuzzi where,
for a whole five minutes I feel good.
For the parking spaces where there's room
to open car doors wide as the mouth
of Jonah's whale.

           There they go, the young, the fit
working out on their elliptical
machines, panting and gasping on their treadmills,
wearing out their knees, hoping to fit
into their skinny sequined jeans in time
for New Year's Eve. Maybe, seeing me,
they'll think of someday. But then, I hope,
they'll go right on grunting, lifting their weights,
trying out the latest diets, signing
up for a new tattoo to show
the latest boyfriend. It isn't time
for them to be so grateful for their daily-
ness. It's time for them to have the times
they will be grateful for, those lovely years
when their guardian angels were still
watching out for them.


*First published in Ars Medica.


Marian Kaplun Shapiro, whose work has been published in previous issues of Common Ground, is the author of Second Childhood (Norton, 1988), a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and two chapbooks: Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line, 2007); and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). Having contracted polio at 5, and subsequently post-polio syndrome as an adult, she swims daily at a sports club. She was named Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts in 2006, in 2008, in 2010, and 2011. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2012.