Poetry by Kim D. Bailey | Forgetting

This poem was written in late 2015 after a difficult year spent with my ex, his family, death, and losses of many kinds.

Today, I grieve a marriage ended that started to unravel about the time the subject of this poem was making history. If I’m honest, it started before then. The events which unfolded during my late father-in-law’s illness and subsequent death only reinforced the truth behind the lie.

I read it last night at an open mic night and felt compelled to share it with all of you today. 
Thanks to Kelly Fitzharris Coody for publishing this poem in Sick Lit Magazine in 2016.

Forgetting

 

The maze of hallways all seem

the same, nurses stations with sad

still faces and bent backs,

watching the clock until a light blinks

until another patient wanders past

the invisible fence of the floor.

 

My father-in-law does not remember

me, a stranger he met when his mind

was already broken,

Sometimes he smiles when I enter

his room, more often he cries

for his momma.

 

My back bends with the nurse’s

we hold him up to dress or bathe

while he spits curses and yells

then he jokes with the cute blonde

I am weary

I want to go home.

 

We had one good day

he told me his same old stories

we sang, The Old Rugged Cross,

I’ll cherish, burdens I lay down

the smile on his face

the light in his eyes.

 

The last week he was in his room

a house much too large for two

my husband and his mother, his brothers

none knew what to do, grief

was a squatter, invisible I wrung my

hands, I felt so helpless.

 

After we said goodbye to him

the light was gone from us,

wicked wounding words, stricken by fear

faithless, broken we had become

our legacy, lingering loss of trust

a last word for a last word.

 

My husband’s eyes and hands

dimpled smile so like his father’s,

watching him sometimes frightens me.

Will he forget who I am?

Will we be strangers one day,

or were we all along?

 

Kim D. Bailey (Deal)

December 6, 2015

For: Bob and Gene, the two real deals. I wish you hadn’t left us. We needed you so.

3 comments

  1. I have seen Dementia, lived with it, that slow sneak thief of self, seven years with my Dad. At the nursing home, when, finally he couldn’t be safe at home, I knew when he’d been there just one day his time was getting near. He didn’t ask about his dog. I guess I don’t have to explain how this poem touches.

    Liked by 1 person

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