She knows who I am. She even knows when I wonder
if she knows, and she needn’t remember what she is,
another living being, what help to know
who, precisely? Why? She’s lost face and space, the dates
the night, and surrenders to the drapes that open
everyday when what we used to call the light comes in.
She may not recognize the color blue but she knows beneath,
below, there is a soothing something out there when we are wheeling
by the sea. She wouldn’t spell it right or think for long what color is,
but feelings of rooms and walls do make a difference and she’s accepted
that her mind flickers like a silent movie. She’s given up
frustration for the most part, traded words for breath. Yesterday
could be tomorrow for all she thinks but does it matter if objects
have no names, or Monday’s Tuesday, and one’s existence
not worth pondering? Her simpler seeing eases what once cluttered
into fear of insult, weights of worry. She knows her mind’s
betrayed her and doesn’t tamper with the motors
of her body that have faded into other arms that lift and sit her
like the dolls she gave Deena and me in that other dream time.
All is smaller and more quiet but she appreciates the jacarandas,
watches as I water, place them on the table. There is contentedness
sometimes, busyness, still. She pleats the edge of her tablecloths
and blouses, pleats and wraps the cookie in a napkin for the gift it is.
Her eyes say thank you though her voice cannot
for the two sparkling slippers softening her feet; though feet,
might meet and nod, the word itself, won’t mean a thing.
She understands a gesture made from tenderness
though neither of us bother with the word for it.