Dementia by Alan Ford


I am in mourning. I have
lost you although you are still here.
I see your bewildered look,
your confusion. We are separated
by the death of thought.

You resemble a closed book
so I cannot turn the pages. There
are no notes, no explanations
in your margin.
Our life together is unread.

You lie there in a fog of words,
as if you are learning a new language.
Yet you cannot speak my name. And you
cannot recognize my face.
Our future is unspoken.

As you age you return to childhood.
As you move further away from me
I cannot imagine where you are
or why you have gone.
I just look for what remains.

For now I see you pace through my life
you stride back and forth. Are you
searching for something you cannot find?
A feeling. An intuition. Are you conscious
of the person you used to be?
In the reflection of your eyes do you
recognize yourself?

For time aches in the space between us,
longing to be filled. We live in
dead days and empty nights.
I want to embrace you but
I have gone from being your lover to your carer.

Our old life together is now over. But
I will be here until I am no longer needed.
I have taught you so little. But there is
so much I have learned about myself.

by Alan Ford

Editor’s Note: The beauty of the metaphors in this poem intensifies the grief of the underlying narrative until the closing line arrows itself into the reader’s heart.