m.nicole.r.wildhood’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Atticus Review, Five, xoJane and elsewhere. She seeks to be an advocate for those experiencing mental or emotional distress, currently writes for Seattle’s street newspaper Real Change and is at work on a novel and two full-length volumes of poetry.
It’s Not Alzheimer’s
In the dwindling visits,
they said I remembered more of you than you.
They had been saying, “There’s nothing we can do,”
for months. I would not have had them do anything anyway.
You ambled around the grounds in the dark searching for hens.
You crouched to collect eggs. You turned on all the lights,
shielded your eyes from a jackhammering sun. Every visit you’d tell
me about the hallway or the stiffness of the egg shells or dusk
with the great walloping awe of a child.
When they found you crumpled at the end of the hall,
terrorized by the chickens that finally got loose
and were pecking apart your room,
when you stopped wearing socks, let alone shoes
so you could better feel the first sign of ground tremors –
“underground elephants stampeding” we could not convince
you weren’t in the ground, when water at a meal transformed
into a life-threatening seiche. In all this, you were still there,
still remembered. More so, always more so, than they insisted:
you grew up running barefoot from rabid poultry, hunkering
in pre-day, gathering fragile things between your fingers.