#LexPoMo
view poets sign up log in

Lexington Poetry Month

Confluence

12Jun2019
POEM
8

The last time my father goes to the doctor prior to his death, the doctor asks, “So Mike, how are you feeling?” Dad’s answer is a little unorthodox, he says he grew up in Paducah, which is right on the river.  It’s at a point where two rivers—the Tennessee and the Ohio—come together.  After their confluence, one can plainly distinguish—for about a mile downstream—between the Ohio, the far side, which is dirty, brown and muddy, and the Tennessee side, which looks much cleaner.

 
Meanwhile my stepmom, Cathy, judging by the content of Dad’s reply, thinks, What the hell is he talking about?  Given his frequent episodes of dementia and his recent diagnoses of Alzheimer’s, it isn’t uncommon for him to go off on some random tangent.

Dad’s doctor has a clear frame of reference into what he is talking about; apparently the Doc.’s wife is from Paducah so once when they were there visiting, he’d gone to the riverfront and seen firsthand where the rivers join up and the remarkable difference you see in hue as they flow side-by-side until they become one.  Having explained this, the doctor says, “Yeah Mike, I know exactly where you mean.” Then Dad says, I feel like I’m down in the muddy side.


8 responses to “Confluence”

  1. Sylvia Ahrens says:

    Jude – Good to read your poetry again!

  2. Karen George says:

    What a fabulous poem–the narrative flow, the unexpected ending. Sad and yet full of beauty.

  3. Missy says:

    Jude, glad you’re contributing this year. I remember Cathy telling this story. Really classic Mike. ?

  4. Cathy Lally says:

    Great retelling, Jude! Your dad visited the river EVERY time we visited your grandmother, Penny in Paducah. The two of them were drawn to the river as to a dear old friend.

  5. Cathy Lally says:

    Great retelling, Jude! Your dad visited the river EVERY time we visited your grandmother, Penny in Paducah. The two of them were drawn to the river as to a dear old friend; muddy water and all.

  6. mari leet says:

    Your story opens the experience of what it is to have dementia and not be understood by all around them….how beautiful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.