Mother, when you forget my name
will you at least recognize my face?
Or will I become indistinguishable
from the janitor on the night shift?
Like grandma, the last time I saw her,
when she thought I was her dead brother.
Will you save me a place
among the ruins of your mind?
Just a small secret space
where we can watch Jeopardy together,
and race to shout out the right answers.
As if everything was fine, like normal, like before.
Or must I accept this fate
of inevitable degradation, of finite devotion?
of lost car keys and misplaced kitchenware,
of tense pacing back and forth in hospital lobbies,
of perpetual visits to the cemetery with already wilted petunias in hand.
Tell me, who will answer the telephone
when I dial out of instinct?
Who else will offer to help
even when I don’t want to be helped?
Who else will still love me
after they discover everything about me?
When it is your time to go
and you look at me with helplessness,
with humble detachment,
will I finally understand
how you felt
when you first laid eyes on me?