Deja Vu All Over Again
For Mary & her mom
Half of the time, she no longer recognizes you.
She reaches out, blind reflex, rages when you
respond. You feel stabbed or scratched.
You telephone the residence several times
a day in the beginning just to make sure.
She is okay. The kind staff-member tells you she is
watching TV in the day-room or that she ate
all of her vegetables at lunch or that she did
not fight the aide who comes to help her dress.
She can’t always recall what a bra is for, or socks
or how to tie her sneakers. You feel like a voyeur,
a locked-outsider. How did this happen? you ask yourself
all the time, when you can’t sleep, can’t paint, can’t
write. You lie there, stare into depthless Dark,
clock numerals spin hours. She is almost
an infant, as alien as you must’ve been when she first
held you. She knew she was supposed to love you
because mothers love their babies. A chemical guarantee
or something. You know you are supposed to love her now.
Daughters never stop loving their mothers.
Oh, but it is hard sometimes. These days…you’re
never ready, when the phone rings. Fight or flight?
Sometimes, a girl just wants her mama,
It’s only a bad dream, honey, go back to sleep.
Central New York Branch, NY
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