We bear down hard on our enfeebled,
our altered ones, even as we avert our eyes
from the spectacle of their personal devastation:
his stringy biceps as he tugs on a swim-cap;
her once girlish gait listing like a shipwreck.
In our dreams we hear the snap
of latex gloves as we hand over
the moment of our indecision. At dawn
we set about straightening the house,
closing closet doors on the skeleton of memory.
The brain’s wiring unravels backward. We lose first
what was foremost. So when your aging brother strides out,
eccentric, sway-backed as a soldier mocking himself, seeking
persistently exciting inputs that will charge him up enough
to take one more run at you, you stand defenseless
on the doorstep, waving your something red.
-first appeared in The Listening Eye