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Alzheimers Morton Marcus

My mother’s expression stolid as a tree’s, as one by one memories like leaves slip from her mind.

Whitman’s Leaves of Grass: poems or a compendium for national memory?

The Chinese poet folding his poems into little boats and nudging them down river, oblivious to melancholy or regret, forgetting them when they are out of sight.

We can’t wait to get away from the stranger in the mirror, whose features revolt us. Must he suck his teeth that way? Must she keep bickering and sniffling?

Words, names.

The easy chair he slept in watching TV, the table she sat at brushing her hair, both of them thinking of nothing.

The crib in the attic, the home without furniture, the vacant lot without a house.

The field hacked out of the forest, the forest covering the land for as far as birds in the trees and animals snuffling in the underbrush beneath the tall ferns could see.

Did the oceans slump, as they do now, onto one shore and another before their waters, the color of blood, boiled away?

Lava, crimson and yellow, slithering over immeasurable expanses of black rock.

Thousands of volcanoes, each one capped by a red cloud.

The world about to be born.