Kingston Minded

Your eyes roll back into a memory,
perhaps of papayas or women.
Something lightens in you
Flickers
Passes
And you’re back in the room staring at your soup.
It’s dribbled onto your napkin, tucked in like a bib
– I think to ask where you were –
It’s mushroom even though you never liked them.
Remember when you fed me bananas mashed with avocado
and told me I had my mother’s hair, and used the spoon to catch what fell on my chin,
look at us now.
Is it hard?
On some days, in some moments when I realise you may never return
yes
Yes
It is hard.
To see you in an M and S dressing gown by a grey window
because I know it’s not what you would have wanted,
Dreaming of women or papayas.
It makes you ask when enough is enough.
I show you photos taking any slight breath off beat as a sign.
I show them of people and places
all that you loved.
One Tuesday you said a name
I didn’t know, but nor did I recognise the face you pointed at.
You said the name, took the photo, held it for the rest of my visit,
but made no further comment.
These moments give something.
To you I am your father, your neighbour, your Aunt, your grandchild, the nurse that works weekends, your friend, people I’ve never heard of, but never your daughter.
How can you mistake me for so many people but me?
It’s okay as goodbyes were said back when the word held meaning;
Now syllables slip over you and from you
as you ferment on breathing.
I preferred it when you used to bite.
I use your name but as a sound rather than someone.
I don’t mean to reduce you
it’s just hard.
You have walked so far –
I keep trying to ask if there is anything you want done, anything you want said
Anything in you, anything.
I keep trying, but it gets to the point when it’s enough.
– you have walked so far out there’s no coming back.
It’s okay.

Time runs upon us.

Seeing you sit there
I smile,
imagine you Kingston minded

sucking papayas and dancing with women.

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