Losing Myself: Persona Poem

The best of days are days like these,

when my grandchildren come to visit.

I play catch with vivacious little Timmy, laugh

with Isaac when he sticks the wooden spoon

into the bowl of flower and milk and dust

flies everywhere,

and I sit and drink tea with solemn,

sweet Abbie while she reads a fairytale and

frowns at baby Pam when she shrieks with joy and I

wonder how life could get any better than this.

.

Peter comes home, my Peter who

waited for me before school every day, even

when I teased him by riding with Bud McKenzie,

my Peter who’s been beside me

for fifty years, and still he surprises me. The smoke alarm

interrupts his story, and I fret because how could I forget

that meat loaf was in the oven?

But my Peter takes my hand

and we go out to dinner instead.

.

The doctor talked to us yesterday

in that cold white room.  Peter held my hands

to warm them up, and the doctor said he was sorry

to say he thinks I have the beginning signs

of dementia, so as soon as we left we called

the kids, and I looked around at our house

and started going through years of clutter

because soon I will not remember…

.

My son’s girl…Abbie?  Yes, Abbie

spends the night for her birthday, for

I think it is her twelfth birthday, and she

asks me why there is smoke in the kitchen,

but I don’t know.  She opens the windows and the oven

and says I must have been baking a cake for her

but I never baked a cake for…my son’s little girl.

.

I do not understand why they will not

let me go home tonight.  I hate this place

with moving beds, needles hooked to arms, and

strangers coming to poke at me.  Peter holds my hand

and his eyes are full of love, even when I snap

at him, so it must be okay here.

.

These are the worst days, when people

come to visit, with cards and pictures

and sad eyes.  Today I remember, but sometimes

I forget their names, the names of my own babies,

and I am mad at myself for making them sad.

.

I am so afraid.  That old lady in the bed next to me

keeps talking to me, and she knows my name

but I never told it to her.  My brain is trying

so hard to think—be quite and leave me alone!

.

The young man with the funny white jacket

tells me to eat my dinner because I’m losing weight but

what is he talking about?

.

I try to sit up in bed, but I cannot remember how

to move, and I can feel the end creeping up, but

.

I’m not afraid, because my Peter is here.

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About A Daughter's Story

I'm an author and a teacher exploring the world and the stories and ideas it holds.
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