State of Dementia

You wake without your passport
in a foreign city:
jet-lagged, not sure of
the day, the time.
You have the wrong clothes,
the wrong money.
You do not know the language,
the way to go home.

On the street, people rush about,
busy, important.
They jabber over your head.
You need a bathroom,
don’t know how to ask
in this tongue.
You have to
live here now.

Advertisement
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years 3 months ago
I love this poem.  It so clearly highlights the experience of an elderly person's steady decline in ability to just get through the simple parts of the day.  I can see this happening to my 89 year old mom with whom we live.  My mom was always a somewhat "spacey" person, so not all of her meaderings are attributable to age and I must confess to sometimes losing patience in my heart.  But this poem brought me back to a place of deeper respect and patience.  It's a little jewel of a poem.  Thank you!

Advertisement

The latest from america

Native American protestors hold hands with parishioner Nathanial Hall, right, during a group prayer outside the Catholic Diocese of Covington on Jan. 22, 2019, in Covington, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The furor over a chance meeting between Catholic high school students and Native American protesters underscores the need to listen and learn from indigenous voices.
Marlene LangJanuary 23, 2019
The staggering parliamentary defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May, seen here leaving 10 Downing Street on Jan. 23, pushed the country even further from safe dry land. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
After the stunning defeat of Theresa May's exit deal, Scotland is looking anew at independence, and the U.K. government fears economic disaster.
David StewartJanuary 23, 2019
Michael Osborne, a film director, documents the damage from a mud slide next to his home in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, after three days of heavy rain. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
The conceit of California-as-disaster-movie is ridiculous. But maybe watching our fires and mudslides helps other states consider both their own fragility and their underlying strength.
Jim McDermottJanuary 23, 2019
A commitment to religious liberty demands that effort be devoted to resolving, rather than exacerbating, any real or apparent tension between religious obligation and civil duty.
The EditorsJanuary 23, 2019