Flicker

White plaques on atrophied brains
White handprints on fissured rock walls
I was here – do you remember?
Before those hands obliterated your senses and sense of time
I was here yesterday, and the day before
I am your daughter, not your sister

Your sense of self intact, a collage of other lives
You never made it to Morocco, although your friend did
You talk animatedly of the spices and the souks
Of the brutal men and veiled women
You don’t remember why you went
In fact, you never did

You still have your sense of humour
To every song, you create your own lyrics
Your dizziness a chance to sing of the Seine
Meandering around Paris

It takes its toll, though
The deep fissures are covered in moss
The cracks dusty, the edges brittle

Your flame flickers
It throws shadows on the fissured wall
Illuminating small bumps, concealing flaws and cracks
The candle just a stub now
Where once a proud pillar stood

You have started to shuffle your feet
And suspect foul play.
When someone stares at you,
You hiss and growl back.

You won’t leave me alone in a room –
A stranger with your treasures?
I am no stranger – I am blood of your blood
Flesh of your flesh

And yet your core remains
Under a veneer of crazy talk
And suspicion
I still see you behind those fearful eyes
That once were so fearless
Behind hesitation
That was never yours

You are as beautiful as ever
Full of light
You have never before spoken so freely of love
Of how important your family
Of how beautiful your children

You still lead by example
Humility, resilience, compassion
Never steal away
You still have so much to give

You have shouldered the cloak
Of Alzheimer’s
And the cape has made you
Invisible

You fake enthusiasm
Desperate for acknowledgement
And belonging

We assure you that you belong
In our hearts, in our souls
We smile and you smile back

 

 

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