More and more, things slip away…daily.
Names of people, places, things. Where I am.
Where I will be. I am afraid it isn’t always clear.
I ask the girl who comes in my room
most mornings; she just shrugs her shoulders, floating
around the room in a cloud of ammonia and pine,
scowling at the candy bar wrappers and
cookie crumbs that always
seem to pepper the sheets and the floor by my bed.
She is nice enough, but I don’t know who keeps letting her
in the house. Or where Henry is and why he doesn’t
come home at nights anymore. She’s pretty enough;
he likes pretty girls. I think about her sitting in my chair
at the dining room table and I hate her. All I can do
is think, though. I haven’t left this room in months,
They’re talking about her again—the voices
outside the door. “She fell again last night.”
“Again? Are we gonna have to tie her down?”
Someone laughs. Who the hell is Henry letting in here?
One of the maids came in to give me my pills. I think
she is from Mexico. She said it was four o’clock in
the afternoon. Isn’t it night? I hope Henry isn’t paying
her too much. For what? Lying to me and sitting in my
chair all day?
That tall man, who stops by from time to time, is back; he brings me fried chicken strips and apple pie from Whataburger. I like it
when he comes, since all those damn maids cook for me
is eggs. He says that isn’t true, though. “Last time
I was here you had Salisbury steak for dinner. You must have
forgotten. Happens to all of us.” He is nice, but he gets upset
with me a lot. “You fell, again? You know you aren’t supposed
to get out of bed by yourself.” Before I can respond, he slips in a
“I swear you won’t be happy until you break a hip.” Words
escaping me, I shove an entire chicken strip in my mouth and chew.
He always seems upset with me about something or another. Like
the time he told me to stop telling people my daughter was dead.
“She is in Dallas with your great grandkids. She called the nurses’ station today. Caused quite the stir.” All I could think about was what I was going to tell the neighbors.
Sometimes, I think I hate him, but I can’t; he looks tired and his eyes are so sad. ‘Is your mother here,’ I ask.
He says, ‘Yes.’
“‘Did she not want this food?” I ask.
‘We had extra,’ he answers checking emails on his phone.
“Does your mother know what a sweet son she has?” I ask, liking him a little more.
‘No, but she likes the chicken strips.’
I bet one of those damn bitches is sitting in my chair, right now!
Written by David Estringel – Brownsville, Texas
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
4 Comments Add yours
This poem was compelling. Well done. A peek inside a mind that is lost. My mother developed dementia. She lived with us for her last three years on this planet. I could sometimes see glimpses of an inner “dialogue” through her eyes … the confusion, annoyance, even anger as those of us who cared for her were forced to make decisions on her behalf … a once proud Marine Corp vet, artist, wife, mother of five, and member of her church choir. Estringel’s poem may queue a reader to be gentler with their words, more patient with explanations that need repeating over and over and over to bring a temporary calm to someone whose mind is lost
I agree. Beautifully done and quite sobering.
David, this is beautiful writing.
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