Dementia, or Trying to Say Goodnight


These are still my bones, I try
to tell myself, tell the Wolf.
I’ve been five hours now
in my mother’s sundown room.
Dear Wolf, do you hear?
Rounding the dinner hour
she loosed her spoon and dropped
my name. I kneeled—still
and pawed the floor.
Rising now, I tell my skin I’m real.
Stand, and feel my lie
sweeten the air. How can I
hold what she won’t keep?
I try to say Good. Try Night.
I touch the late-
lit door. You made me
my mother says to me, and Wolf,
who comes in dreams
when she says these things,
does not come. My Wolf, my bones,
my name. I don’t say
You made me. Daughter.
Body. Bloom
of lunar light. Sad
is my name now, too,
my only. I have
to leave her in this room
with a red help button
by the narrow bed.
I have to sign
myself out, Sad, scrawl
my bones into the empty lot.
To be gone in June’s dark, erased
in the boneless heat.
Mother, I would curl inside the moon,
hide there for good,
if I could—if Good, if
Night, if Wolf would just come
open it wide.

Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of two poetry books from Mayapple Press, No Eden and Book of Asters, and three chapbooks, including Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Adroit Journal, The Missouri Review's Poem-of-the-week web feature, and Kenyon Review Online.

Sally’s work previously appeared in November 2014.