Poem 23: I Doubt If I’m Up For This

How many times do we say that
to ourselves, when we smell the baby’s
diaper, and know the parents are out on a
date we sent them on, and won’t be back
for hours? When we see the old dog falter
in its steps, and know we can’t stop cruel,
inexorable time? When you, my love, look
puzzled when I try to play that game with you,
or read that poem you’ve always loved, and I
know you don’t remember, you’ll never remember
again, because so many details of our too-short
time together are already lost in the hippocampus,
where young memories go to die. I know I must
be up for this, for loving you, as your steps falter,
and you grow dim. I promise I will take care of
you, and make you laugh, even when you think
I’m just someone the agency sent,
to change your bedclothes.

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