The best of days are days like these,

when my grandchildren come to visit.

I play catch with vivacious little Timmy, laugh

with Isaac when he sticks the wooden spoon

into the bowl of flower and milk and dust

flies everywhere,

and I sit and drink tea with solemn,

sweet Abbie while she reads a fairytale and

frowns at baby Pam when she shrieks with joy and I

wonder how life could get any better than this.


Peter comes home, my Peter who

waited for me before school every day, even

when I teased him by riding with Bud McKenzie,

my Peter who’s been beside me

for fifty years, and still he surprises me. The smoke alarm

interrupts his story, and I fret because how could I forget

that meat loaf was in the oven?

But my Peter takes my hand

and we go out to dinner instead.


The doctor talked to us yesterday

in that cold white room.  Peter held my hands

to warm them up, and the doctor said he was sorry

to say he thinks I have the beginning signs

of dementia, so as soon as we left we called

the kids, and I looked around at our house

and started going through years of clutter

because soon I will not remember…


My son’s girl…Abbie?  Yes, Abbie

spends the night for her birthday, for

I think it is her twelfth birthday, and she

asks me why there is smoke in the kitchen,

but I don’t know.  She opens the windows and the oven

and says I must have been baking a cake for her

but I never baked a cake for…my son’s little girl.


I do not understand why they will not

let me go home tonight.  I hate this place

with moving beds, needles hooked to arms, and

strangers coming to poke at me.  Peter holds my hand

and his eyes are full of love, even when I snap

at him, so it must be okay here.


These are the worst days, when people

come to visit, with cards and pictures

and sad eyes.  Today I remember, but sometimes

I forget their names, the names of my own babies,

and I am mad at myself for making them sad.


I am so afraid.  That old lady in the bed next to me

keeps talking to me, and she knows my name

but I never told it to her.  My brain is trying

so hard to think—be quite and leave me alone!


The young man with the funny white jacket

tells me to eat my dinner because I’m losing weight but

what is he talking about?


I try to sit up in bed, but I cannot remember how

to move, and I can feel the end creeping up, but


I’m not afraid, because my Peter is here.

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