Since it is is holiday, this poem was shouting at me (wrote it for my dad right before he died):
Inspired by “Forgetfulness” by Billy Collins
“as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones”
I don’t think he is fishing.
Instead behind those foggy old hazel eyes
I think he’s running his cows.
He’s afoot, herding them through
The brush and cedar breaks,
Calling them out by names,
“Sophie, hah, Chair (whistle),
Come on girls! Stay together now!”
And when he’s not baling hay or picking beans
He’s got his hunting dogs out
Watching them catch the scent
Of that coon he’s been trying to catch.
Every now and then his face manages
A crooked little smile and I see the freedom
His mind finally has now.
He’s not bothered by money or a time clock,
Weather or war.
He’s actually in another place,
A farm his dementia has created
Since he can’t be on his own anymore.
There is no rain.
Only sunny days with a cool breeze
Blowing in across the porch
And fields of springtime bluebonnets for as far
As his foggy old hazel eyes can see.