A Portrait of an Old Man with Alzheimer’s

old man
The wrinkles, where hemispheres lay,
In torrential tears, and hammock-ed lips.
How, above the six pack,
I now have silver-painted chest hairs
While on the pinnacle, there are plaques
Of knotty protein, what defines you, in your downhill
Slope, the tau protein, holding the helm,
In that dreaded Alzheimer’s.
How from the pathology of
A heart infection, we go to losing our minds.
How the old man on the mirror,
Once was another’s trophy,
Muse, custodian, and lynchpin
Of a disease, hyperopic love.
Which at 41, remembered every minor detail,
The dimples on either side of her lips,
The cellulite on her thighs,
The penguin legs, how she is knock-kneed.
What little she wears when she sleeps at night,
What position, what angle, what sounds
She makes, clattering her teeth
Or snoring a little.
How she is your everything still,
How she helps you out of bed in the morning,
How she tells you stories in bed,
How she sleeps next to you, even now,
That familiar figure that I see, so often,
Sometimes, gifting me her palms, and calling
Me “love” every time.
How I look at her, unable to put
A name to her face, calling her back “love”.
How she shows me old albums,
Just the two of us, side by side,
Holding hands, sometimes
Even lips-locked, seemingly lost in a world
Of our own making.
And just occasionally I remember
A name , “Michelle”, that falls like a meteor,
Which I utter in silence, when the person inside albums,
Comes for a brief instant in time.
A faint reminder, of how I carry her now, as incognito,
Until those brief moments of surrealism,
Hits me, merely, a glimpse of deja-vu…..
How then, when I look at her beautiful face,
I can only see her lips placed on mine,
The fine detail of her probing lips,
The silkiness, the succulence, the taste,
A Velcro moment, difficult to loosen or dislodge,
As my lips stay for a while longer,
Perhaps a perpetual eternity.
How in my forgetful contemporary,
An old man battling memory loss,
Every lip lock seems like,
A virgin kiss.

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