The river hastens without desire or regret,
carries remnants of gleaming heat with
a forecast of chill whipped and stirred.
Rains huddle at the horizon in silver-bunched blueness.
Splashes of warmth do not keep up with
night’s drama, a cape thick with crickets,
their songs wrapped about me.
I close my eyes to hear and feel.
Leaves whisper and fall, kiss feet and face.
Within these months has come
a stutter of healing, invisible, slow.
At the edge of wounds are signs of strength:
sleep still and deeper, bursts of laughter,
the sound of your confusion no longer
so raw to my heart, if still startling.
I accept that you wander, surprised,
in a vaporous land with fewer borders.
You fumble and shrug, embarrassed-
for a lifetime you designed and wielded time.
We still understand one another.
But sometimes I wish you would stride
down all the paths with me,
your hand in the crook of my elbow,
mine in yours, no words needing excavation,
with nods of encouragement for the redhead
who sits alone looking for happiness.
We already have carried it between us, sister,
and hoarded its beauty for all that lay in wait.
I was more expert at preparing for poverty.
But who ever expected such hungering now?
Who could have imagined this wilderness lay ahead?
I make my way toward you, arms opening,
and you hand me a mother of pearl hummingbird
with a tender smile:
“You still love these birds, don’t you? You can have mine.”
(For those with dementia and those who love them.)