Slow Fade

I grasp her hand,
holding tight
to memories
of Christmas dinners
clothes swaying on the line
and finger-wagging cautions
to be home before dark.

The mother who
cut out paper dolls
built forts with sheets
and let down the hems on my mini-skirts
when I wasn’t looking
no longer sees the dust
or the dirty dishes.
Her gray is showing
and there’s a stain on her blouse.

My childhood
and her love for me
are trapped
behind the confusion
her memories held hostage
by a fiend
we can neither battle nor deny.

I search her staring eyes
grappling for even a flicker
of who she used to be.
She sits at my side
yet we are strangers.

She rarely speaks
the words too hard to form.
I worry that she’s
drowning in torment
she can neither fathom
nor express.

Forgetting the past
without dreams of the future,
today is a mystery.

Her heart still beats out
the moments, the days.
Soon she’ll forget our names
and then forget to breathe.

I stand sentry
holding tight
to her beauty and her grace
as she bears
the slow fade. (2016)

* * * * *

“Tri Me” self-portrait, copyright 2013 Alexandra Whiteside


She studied the woman
in the mirror
searching with narrowed gaze
and set jaw
for some semblance
of herself.

Surely the creases
bracketing her mouth
gave lie to the sober stranger
before her,

offering proof of laughter
and lightness of spirit.

That’s not me—no
simpering creature despairing
of tenderness and hope.
She did not—would not—plead
for scraps
of warmth and touch.

Resolve renewed,
she painted her lips and eyes
and turned to face
the day.

But by nightfall she found
it easier
to simply avoid
the mirrors.




Poetry — 1 Comment

  1. The complexity of thought and word matched perfectly with the tri-colored art. A great reflection of the soul’s searching for personal definition. Loved this.

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