She smiles and for a moment I think the joy
on her face is for me. I am known again.
I am cherished again. I am loved. In a tick of a heartbeat,
her smile is erased leaving in its wake a blank stare.
Empty eyes now a window to a troubled soul. She’s lost to me.
If I had the power, I would hold time still. Better yet,
I would rewind time and restore her strength,
youth and memory. But time does not stand still.
Time can’t be stored and held securely in a bottle;
it flows out in one direction. Forward. Always, forward.
I remind her that I’m her fourth: the chubby dimpled girl
with knobby knees.
She’s engaged in my tale, but it doesn’t
touch her heart. It doesn’t ignite the flame of memory
I’m hoping for. I am still a nobody; an annoying visitor
trying to force a smile on the face of a woman who thinks
I’m a stranger.
At the end of each visit, I leave more broken
than the last. And she, the mother whom I love,
continue to stare at me with vacant questioning eyes.
Written by Arlene Antoinette – Valrico, Florida
Feature Photo by Adrien King
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