Drinking Frappuccinos on a Dementia Ward
At last, the night-mind’s unconsoled colic
—bleak lashing tears, fumblings in shredded
junk—gives way to day’s sweet milk you
once brought me, need before word, word
before names, a world certified by just
this warmth, soft touch, familiar smells.
There are holes in your head, there are holes
in mine as well. I don’t speak carelessly—
How could I in this place made only of
particulars: one bed, one bureau, two scuffed
chairs. A tiny plastic dog that was the year’s best gift.
Self’s own siege grinds devious. Opaque as opening
your hand while keeping it clenched tight. Hard as the
glare ice that forces water from my eyes
and lets soft colours bloom.
What a passage nature shipped you on. Its
scissoring deaths and random flaring births, your
dogged hemmed-in fight stamp witnessing to space.
Vacuum voice to murmurs, murmurs into void.
But heart is not a hole. In its dark, thick
wild shoots and rustlings, swarms of succulent
tiny tadpoles huddling in mud-rut puddles.
Deep earth hum of sitting quietly together.
This peace we sit in, sipping, being beyond
names, is also beyond time, a thousand
day-nights passing exactly the same way:
sun coming up, sun climbing a pale blue hill, sun
going down. Milk of moon and cloud exchanging places.