The Words

For my mother, who patiently took care of my Grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease for 9 years. My Granny was a kind and gracious woman and never would have wanted to put my mother through difficulty. In a way, this is for both of them.

I feel the things no longer fully known

that once I knew and used with defted hands,

(my hands that sewed, and cleaned, and cooked and served

and now sit folded silent in my lap).

I see your face, a kindness coming forth

from wells of eyes that brim with quiet joy,

a patient work I try unknowingly

to frustrate; wondering at where I am.

But still I know the cadence of your voice

and feel, like echoes, waved from long ago

a nurse’s hands, a server’s gentle touch

the girl I joy my youngest boy should love

And sometimes still, when clouds have seemed to loom

and lay like gloom across my wand’ring mind,

and lonely panic spreads from out beyond

I feel your hands and calm, since you are here.

And when you lift me up from bed at dawn

familiar unfamiliarity

lends weight to wanting all the things you ask.

But sometimes, rare, a ray of recollect,

the lucid grace of hidden soul unflagged,

comes sprightly to my mind and seems to gleam

in jesting humor light and evergreen.

It seems a spark that travels through to you,

and makes a patch of brightness in your mind,

and for a moment all is warm and bright.

And yet today is better far than all,

for here today a speech has sprung to mind

and as you brush my hair and place my shoes

a feel the language coming back in time,

when you adjust the mirror I see you there

and speak in words I wish to carry through

for all the moments, works and tired nights

you’ve served, though I can hardly know the price.

The meaning’s loaded, short succinct and vast

and comes to me so easily as true

I look into your eyes and catch the cue,

and speak the words I’ve longed to say:

“Thank you.”

Poto by: Sean Foster

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