Dementia is a horrible disease. Stealing the mind before the body is dead, that’s just cruel.
In this poem, I combine memories of my mom, my love of gardening, and the ravages of dementia.
I’m in there too. I’ve destroyed a few gardens in my life, thinking I was having fun.
Playing in the Dirt
I sit on the weathered wicker swing,
suspended from a gnarled grape harbor.
My dangling feet blend rosemary and thyme, like a ballet
of ten fairies over a bed of perfumed mint.
I snuggle in mom-made pillows, with her
captured scent from distant decades.
Earth’s forces battle about me.
Brittle morning breeze, robe snug.
Intense rising sun, robe loose.
The gray dawn splits open with rays of pure gold.
Glory to the gladiator of creation.
Again, he redeems darkness for light.
I watch as my dad saunters, unsure of his steps,
His body says eighty, him mind only eight.
Time has no power when life has no pain.
For hours he frolics, for hours he plays.
He frisks the pea pods, steals their gems,
He spit bombs ant hills with tomato seeds,
Pokes for carrots, crops their tops,
Thumps the melons, bowls down lanes,
Digs sleepy spuds, gauges eyes with his spade,
Serves delectable mud pies, hits the crows flying by,
Plucks the marigold blooms, threads a lei for his head,
He’s free to exist where nothing else matters.
He surveys his garden. His knees bend him to the dirt.
The tears on his cheeks reveal a moment of clarity,
a lifetime of sin.
Like the serpent in Eden, he destroyed what was good.
Rain falls from heaven, a cloudburst of grace,
He stands strong in its flow, refusing to hide.
The divine tears soak his bones. I see hope in his eyes.
A prism of brilliant colors arc the evening sky,
Glory to the gladiator of creation,
Again, he redeems darkness from light.