I wrote the first poem during my poetry class in the fall of 2018, when my stepdad was showing mild signs of (read: successfully hiding) having dementia . The second one is more recent. This is me coming to terms with shit through poetry.
Losing the Signal
Sometimes he goes wandering in his head
too far to find his way back to the here and now.
Alone, he loses himself for hours,
unsure of what he should be doing
with these inaptly named golden years.
When I call he stammers
Who is this again?
I blame poor reception,
the thickness in my voice
belying the words.
It started with names, events, faces,
forgetting to feed the cat or feeding it twice.
The world went a little fuzzy at the edges,
a field draped in soft morning fog.
Now it has thickened until everything solid
has become merely an idea of itself.
His mind is slowly coming undone,
a favorite tune on the radio broken by static,
devolving to white noise and nostalgia.
We assure him we remember,
will teach him the words
to the song of himself
even after we become strangers.
he’s got a new mugshot
doesn’t look much like
the man I thought I knew
clean shaven, nostrils flared
the audacity of being held
gaunt finished angry
stripped of pretense
provoked to this
he was a good guy
how can all of him
to a black mark
like an artist slashing
with a broad brush
everything else diminished
to a background
no one looks at anymore