An Ode to my drawer full of yesterdays

 

The memories I carry get slimmer by the day

but you, oh, Drawer, have found a way

to fix in my mind yesterday’s past;

you hold in your walls the first and the last

places I visited, the people I saw

the work that I did, like mopping the floor.

A note on your flushed face reminds me to pull

your stainless steel handle, and see, now you’re full

of notelets and photos, bus tickets, receipts;

a comfort to remember what I had to eat

down at the café, the one by the beach

with girls I once worked with when I used to teach.

I look at the photo of ‘bangers’* and mash

and even a print of the Queen on her cash

with a sentence, hand written, by whom I don’t know

describing the day as ‘a sky full of snow’.

Each girl has a label, Sarah, Martha and Jane,

But that’s going too far! Do they think I’m insane?

That I couldn’t remember the best of my friends

Well, my dear drawer, this is really the end!

Your MDF faces can slide shut on the rails.

Let’s hope for your sake that lucidity prevails!

© Jacqui Thatcher 2015


* bangers = a colloquial term for sausages

An Ode-ish work, and a little bit of apostrophe!  Sometimes, I feel too close to the work just completed and can not look at it in terms of what it is, so I will leave the reader to judge for me!

Though a first draft (and I would normally leave such things to mature in a drawer for many months), I am pleased with the idea that this drawer stores all the important, recent memories for a person in the early stages of dementia.  It is a lifeline – maybe that needs working in there somehow?

I have witnessed several people who have suffered this terrible disease;  memory prompts are vital for the person to maintain their link between today and yesterday for it is often the short term that fails first, as well as the ability to remember names.

I have put a link on my blog for anyone who would like to find out more information about Alzheimers or dementia.

Fingers

I thought of Steve and his haddock-scented fingers
one drizzly Friday afternoon, of course.
In the shower, about an hour later,
whilst drowning in the hot current,
the nurse’s cool hand on my
back. I could feel the tension in those hard
pressed fingers as baby emerged, purple and stiff.
Both of us silenced by events.

Later,
I thought of Steve and his haddock-scented fingers
one drizzly, Friday afternoon
when I climbed the wall,
stalled for a few minutes, looking down at the floors
below me

And I saw HER.
the warm, soft hands,
scented with baby powder and love,
balled fists bursting open.
And my doughy finger, taking
its place as hers wound their way into
my heart.

I watched my fingers straining together as their clutch trembled over knees. Rough cuticles, nails chewed down to the marrow. Traces of purple polish, left over from that other life. Engorged green veins threading through the day, leading me to

chin hugging chest.  I teetered on that wall
and as I tipped,
I thought of Steve and his haddock-scented fingers.

© Jacqui Thatcher 2015