You answer the phone and know my voice,
always, though you tell me
"Mama is in the other room,
would you like to speak to her?"
I say I speak to her all the time,
remind you of her death last summer,
the green urn you chose,
the grave beneath a tree,
the last space in the cemetery
so she would not feel closed in.
You say quietly, "Yes, the green urn."
This conversation never happened,
you will forget and call me in an hour,
anxious to hear how I am and if I can
come and live with you.
You threaten a nurse with bodily harm
when she will not let you out
to find your car so you can find a job
to feed your wife and children.
My father, violent?
This is new and disturbing so they send you
to a place to study you closely - draw blood,
make you suffer through acuity tests
while we know what the real suffering is -
you are lonely, you are old, dementia
is eating you alive from the inside.
You speak in foreign tongues and it scares you
because you have forgotten your career
as a linguist for NSA.
You are physically healthy,
you have the best insurance,
you have enough money to pay
for years of care.
We, the children, are speechless
with grief and love and guilt.
Please don't live forever.
Not this way.