A curtain, descending over that lustrous mind,
That mind that drew rich laughter
from almost everything,
That mind now expressed as pinched face,
Clenched jaw all fighting to understand,
Synaptic wires trying to find data bases,
Her face desperate to connect.
My son? Yes, my son. Lives? Lives? In New York!
He lives in New York!
They call it Alzheimer’s. I call it theft.
Does the door we open shed light on darkening self
Or throw too-harsh light on a befuddled present,
Forcing her to wonder who she is now?
Cancer, too, she has.
The crab escaping her removed ovaries
To unknown parts of her body.
They will poison the waters in which the crab swims
Trying to stop its relentless scuttling.
Together we seek a safe resting spot,
A place clear of Alzheimer’s and crabs,
If only a ledge, a solid place,
(and if only for a little while),
a place where we can look at the
or, now close, into each other’s eyes:
better, yes, now into each other’s eyes
close enough to smooth that clenched brow.
Is that not our task: to seek, seek and to find,
However narrow, that ledge?
Published in: Town & Country November 2007 by John A. Calhoun