She’s almost 99, but thinks this is the year she’ll be a centenarian.
The cracker crumbs she keeps in napkins are akin
to the winding down shadows of the inevitable dawn.
Her dignity bends to meet the Earth,
arcing her aching and withered bones.
Her teeth are loose; her smile the saddest I’ve ever known.
She was an artist, a fashion illustrator, a seamstress,
a dreamer and doer, a daughter, a sister, a wife and mother.
Now, she waits for death to barrel through the door.
The dementia drowns out her memories of it all.
These cracker crumbs in a napkin are the only thing
she has to hold onto in this fragile life.
Her shrinking humanity, a shroud of tears–
this dismissal, bound and knitted into time’s turning gears.
This confinement, this bed, a booth whose aperture is thinning,
this loneliness, the startle, corrupt with veins flashing worms
and titanic sinkers, all of this and more–
our nature, a vacuum, tooth and claw, the fade seizing the trace–
we all will lose the war.
(c) Edelweiss Meadows-Millstone