Editor’s Note: Dick’s life in an ALF parallel’s his wife’s life in an Alzheimer’s Facility. His feelings about his wife will appear for several weeks in his poems and essays.
I’ll Never Know
You drop deeper into the chair, fall back, as your legs pop up on the footrest.
From within your white washed face – a whiteout of expression –
Your green eyes squinting and enlarged,
Mis-shapen through your thick lenses
Like the reflection in the fun house mirror,
Distorted and engulfed by large purple circles,
Stare straight and still,
Gazing at Julie Andrews on the large flat screen singing to the hills,
As the sounds of music slip over your expressionless face.
You must not see, nor hear
For your unmoving eyes remain fixed and gazing straight ahead.
You must recognize my voice,
For your eyes shift toward me.
Your eyebrows raise.
You move your lips. . .
Nothing comes out,
You squeeze your eyebrows.
You suck in your lips.
You widen your stare.
Your face twists and tightens.
You raise your arm and try to stand.
You want to speak but can only emit a sound from deep in your throat.
But what are you thinking?
What are you trying to say?
I know you! You’re my Rich! I love you and have missed you!
Is that what you mean by your angry face, your pursed lips, your guttural noise?
I’ll never know.