Mom, you look at me 
through shimmering iris pools,
but what I see are
the pupiled black holes
that have devoured you.

Where are you today? I wonder,
on the porch swing 
of your childhood farm 
a sultry breeze fanning your face,
or in the kitchen baking a blueberry pie
hands gummy with dough . . .

or are you here in this room
groping for relics of memory,
terrified of not knowing me, 
your daughter, your first born . . .

A weak smile, 
a glint of recognition,
I grasp your gnarled fingers
and feel a quick squeeze – 
was it only reflex?

You gaze out the window 
like a moth attracted to light.
I massage your hand, 
loose skin piling up in silken pleats,
hoping to spark connection,
my babble a humorous charade.

If only my tears could fill up
the empty parts of you,
the parts that made you
my mother – 

with each passing visit
the raw edges of losing you
fray more, unraveling my heart
as your mind unravels more.

When you are finally gone
in the flesh
I will mark your passing with sadness,

but the mourning, 
that, I have already done.