a squirrel broke the
bird feeder.
how strange,
it was supposed to be
squirrel-proof.
they would leap,
trying again and again,
but the birds
just laughed.
now,
the birds don’t call,
and they don’t
send photos.
a squirrel broke the
bird feeder
and I stopped
connecting.

I awoke, and I was alert as if I had always been conscious. It was a strange feeling to be there, to be present. I lay in bed, looking at the painting. I wanted to know what language you were thinking in when you painted it. Or maybe no language. Perhaps it was a babbling stream of thoughts connected only by your personal history, ideas that wouldn’t add up to anyone else. Thoughts tethered together by the tiniest of threads strung together in perfect fragility.

you are old now.
this is how
it happens, right?
all those years of working
just leading up to a couch
and a blaring television.
you hold long wisps of white hair
and eyes that look but don’t see.
your mind goes out like the tide,
it drifts off somewhere.
in that place of pause,
that place of stillness,
you ask how i was feeling.
in two decades, you haven’t.
for twenty years, you’ve looked at me
but have never seen me.
now, with your fragility
and mortality watching you,
in a small room
with a loud television,
you ask how I am feeling.
but I think you see a younger
version of yourself
tucked somewhere in me.
“how are you?”
it is in that moment of lucidity,
in the stillness where
the delicate place where alzheimer’s
has lost its grip,
where I am just a mirror.
“how are you?”
but it isn’t a question for me.
you are asking,
‘did i live? or
just exist.’
but the tide goes out,
a stillness returns,
and you resume existing.