Pictures taped on the wall,
tenderly showing sequenceâ€”
panties before skirt, socks before shoesâ€”set me
wondering what an Alzheimer mind
feels like inside â€¦
scrolling back to childhood
where daughters seem sisters,
dÃ©jÃ vus cobweb, and
Sleepwalkers startle and wake
under snowy lamp-posts
where I think I must know you but
your name dissolves like tissue in a tub.
Such a mind
a stalwart mule refusing the harness
and cart: ox cart, oxo cubes, hugs and kisses,
signatures flatten to a scrawl and this
was once poetry with words like luminous and
They say you stew in your own juicesâ€”
if you were sweet you thicken; if sour, then
Old Sneep sucking on a lemon.
How is it amnesia doesnâ€™t wipe away language?
The life-story forgotten but not the words;
we lost the way but not the meaning
I am lost.
Arenâ€™t we all? And to be
shuffling down the corridor vague as melting clocks,
dilly dally, daily times and dill pickles, doorknobs
opening the tin and sons become brothers,
names fall away like flesh from soup-stock bones.
Lily pad thoughts float on murky ponds,
white and clean as these daisys on the gurney,
chalk-white like the nursesâ€™sensible shoes but somehow
those fingernails on a slate, black hole
sucking in everything like a hoover;
eightball rebounding but never sunk.
And sometimes, after long long days of staring
Oh! Lemon squares!
Kate Marshall Flaherty
“Far Away” was published in String of Mysteries, Hidden Brook Press, 2008