My siblings and I archive the blanks in my mother’s memory, diagnose her in text messages. And so it begins, I write although her disease had no true beginning, only a gradual peeling away until she was left a live wire of disquiet. We frame her illness as a conceptual resistance—She thinks, yet
sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox
I have thirty seconds to convince you
that when I’m not home, my verve is still,
online or if I’m sleeping when you call,
sheep are grazing on yesterday’s melodrama.
Does anybody know what the burning umbrella
really meant? Forget it. Tell me what you need.
Leave me a map. Leave me your net worth
for reference. Leave me more than you ever planned.
Frankly, I’m anxious your message will be a series
of blurs, that you’ll leave the endearing part out,
garble your confession: A misstep here, a domain there.
A ventriloquism. The phone is in the kitchen,
but I’ve lost my way. It must be hunting season.
I retract every last gesture for your same retraction.