Poem by Lynn D. Gilbert

August 15, 2023

Parkinson’s with Dementia

In Memory of Kenneth C. Minnick
It’s all now now; nothing else has happened.
If I ask him what he just ate, he looks around the table
and makes some guesses: “Coffee. Toast. An egg?”

He can read one newspaper page for an hour.
His mind is a stretch of detached boxcars
marooned on a grass-grown siding.

Even TV’s a blank: A tall guy jumps; he shines
with sweat, he grabs a rebound, but
what’s the score? how’s the game going?

what’s the history between these teams?
At the bottom of the bowl of alphabet soup,
there are letters but no meaning.

Once in a while the shifting fog will open
on a sunlit valley sixty or eighty years away...
All the little white farmhouses are there

and the new fenceposts; the horns in the high school
band strike up; I see him there playing the baritone.
Now-palsied fingers pump smoothly on the three valves

and the feet that today hardly lift off the floor
step out right on the beat. And then, in such
a moment, if I ask him, “What breed of hog

is this, here in this magazine?”
after two or three tries I get his attention
and he grasps my meaning and responds,

“They’re red Duroc,” certain and clear
as if he’d never left off work and retired
twenty-five years ago come October.

About Lynn D. Gilbert

Lynn D. Gilbert has had over 80 poems published in journals. She is looking for publishers for her book, Small Lanterns Bright in Shadows, and chapbook, My Ear is a Magnet for Music. She is an associate editor of Third Wednesday literary journal and a founding editor of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She has lived in or near Austin, TX, for nearly 50 years.