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?