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A Grandmother With Dementia Remembers by Steven Hendrix

the days are black clouds that won't burst
the flowers all bloom at the wrong time
they don't wait for spring anymore
and the colors don't seem as bright as they once did

they won't let me out of this wheelchair
I thought it would be fun to ride around
I wanted my father to push me
now I don't know where he went
and these people I don't know tell me I can't
I can't get up and walk around
I can't go outside the gate
I can't go home
I can't see my father
I don't want to eat but they tell me I have to
I have to take a bath
I have to change my clothes
I have to comb my hair
I have to go to bed

the metallic taste in the air won't go away
my tongue is swollen with atomic buds

I have a brother
I have three brothers
they're all dead
I never got to say goodbye

I have three children
I have a sister
what happened to my sister?
I said goodbye to her
I remember saying goodbye

I have three children
one is sick
one comes to see me all the time
one I don't see too often
a free spirit always

the sonic tension does strange things to my mind
the cells don't all communicate with each other

Christmas 1924 I remember like it was yesterday
I know I don't remember much anymore
I know I remember things like they were yesterday
that didn't happen yesterday
I know the people that come here are my family
even when I don't remember them
I know something is wrong with me
I know I don't have much time left here
and I think I'll be glad when I'm gone
this has become too much
Christmas 1924 I remember like it was yesterday
and I want everyday to be like that day from now on
from now on until it ends
my mother bought me the dress we saw in the window
in the window at Macy's in New York City
the last Christmas we spent in New York
before moving to Los Angeles
it was the first time I'd received a dress that nice
it was so I'd have something nice for my First Communion
it was the first time I'd felt that feeling
I don't know how to describe it
but it was in my chest
it was in my hands
it was in my feet
I didn't want it to end
Christmas 1924 I remember it like it was yesterday
I remember the feeling
even though I don't feel it now
and haven't felt it in a long time
I remember the faces around me
my mother's, my father's, my brothers', my sister's

I remember
I remember
I remember

the days are white clouds that burst too soon
the flowers don't bloom any more
they wait for a spring that never comes
and the colors are nothing but a temporary memory 

Steven Hendrix received his BA in Comparative Literature and his MA in English Literature from California State University, Long Beach. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Pearl, Chiron Review, Re)verb, Creepy Gnome, Askew, and Cadence Collective among others. He currently lives in and haunts Southern California.