She has dementia, they say,
with each look of steely sorrow
a poisoned arrow they did not release
but see coming
Until it is here,
day by day,
Waiting, scraping away and away.
She is not herself, they say
And so they should know,
they who recognize by their
collections of words and packaged
bits of charm and accomplishments.
She is so old, they say
Because age is the goal and the curse,
the yearning and the loss,
the mountain and the canyon.
I would not want to be like that, they say,
So lost at times
So there then not and not again.
But they, those voices, have they felt
Her fingers tracing my face,
the gossamer touch to a feverish child, an angry teenager,
a broken adult between marriages?
Those voices, have they heard her
Whisper, never gentler, its truth never wider.
“You are inside my heart,” she says,
the woman with no pretense left
whose heart pushes on,
with the spirit of the wind in my hair
and the melody of every song
we have sung, together, even tonight.
Ah yes, she has dementia, I say,
As I push aside the veil and
she peers into my soul
and touches my face
Like she always has and always will.