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SANDI SARTORELLI

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Valediction for a loved one with Alzheimer’s

 

If you were to open a door in the air, breathe

through the keyhole a radiant dram ‒

or say a dormant cutting woke

in you.  Say the young vine grew in you

budding with urges to be eaten, fruiting

strange dreams that turned grape

in your gullet. And was broken

down mingled with nutrients

to digest you ‒ if it carried you

red through your own cell walls

disguised in your homemade blood,

how could you resist?

 

Would you leave me?

 

If, without meaning it, you inhaled

a spore of exile into your lungs

would it find kinship with the part of you

that secretly longs to form a new organ?

Perhaps a third lung to imbue you with

alien strength so you could thrive

off the scent of lichens, bleed

from a stream derived from sand.

With your thoughts exchanged, your instincts

raised down to the dreamtime where walls

in your mind turn to dust ‒ would you

become bright with ancient memory?

 

Have you left me?

 

If you were to leave our familiar street

far in a foreign savannah behind you,

if you returned to the reach of your mother’s

spit and hanky, with your footholds

wrapped in wreaths of mist and

the Edmond’s cookbook crumbled into infinity ‒

if vines wove the only landmarks that still made sense,

leaves twining themselves in your thoughts

to erase you down to your most cherished rage

which rolls in the mud – which appears to engulf you ‒

when your heart sheds its skin,

will you make a home in your new land?

 

 

 

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