After the Diagnosis
Have questions? Ask me now.
Soon I’ll be working on
what day it is, what year,
hoping the baby learns my name
before I forget hers.
Apologies? Don’t wait.
I’m ready to forgive anything.
Time is running
through my hands.
Want the painting of pears,
the convex mirror from Venice?
Tell me now while
it means something.
Don’t save your praise for my funeral.
It’s my funeral now. Tell me.
The house changes. It is not yours anymore.
Tomorrow it may be yours again.
Who lives in this place?
you ask, like my aunt asked each time
we brought her back to the Home,
that shifting world.
People you ask for directions gaze through you,
ragtag old lady they directed only moments ago.
Who can you trust? How can you put yourself
in the hands of strangers, all
with the same face, the same voice?
No choice where every door is barred,
every corridor’s a maze.
Are you the strange one? Am I?
Susan Zimmerman’s chapbook, Nothing is Lost, was published by Caitlin Press in 1980. Her poems have more recently appeared or are forthcoming in literary journals such as Prairie Fire, Gyroscope Review, The Maynard, and SWWIM Every Day. A poem of hers is also included in the new anthology The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy, edited by James Crews.