Brief Fling in the Dementia Ward

By FINUALA DOWLING

 

My mother has a brief flirtation
with Mr. Otto, a rare male in Frail Care.
He has the look of a Slavic conductor
—sweeping, side-parted silver locks
offset his visible nappy line.

“How odd,” Ma says of Mr. Otto,
“to meet the love of one’s life in a kitchen”
and to him, within hearing of the nurses:
“Your place or mine?”

But then, just as quickly, she forgets him
and Mr. Otto wanders the passageways again,
asking if anyone has seen his wife;
it’s not like Mrs. Otto to be home so late.

 

 

Finuala Dowling‘s poetry collections include I Flying, winner of the Ingrid Jonker Prize; Doo-Wop Girls of the Universe, joint winner of the Sanlam Prize and Notes from the Dementia Ward, winner of the Olive Schreiner Prize.

Click here to purchase Issue 04

Brief Fling in the Dementia Ward

Related Posts

Image of a statue of a woman wearing a dress in white against a beige background, cover of Ama Codjoe's poetry collection.

September 2022 Poetry Feature: Ama Codjoe—from BLUEST NUDE

AMA CODJOE
When my mother was pregnant, she drove / every night to the Gulf of Mexico. / Leaving her keys and a towel on the shore, / she waded into the surf. Floating / naked, on her back, turquoise waves / hemming her ears, she allowed / the water to do the carrying.

view of valley from mountain

August 2022 Poetry Feature: Nathan McClain—from PREVIOUSLY OWNED

NATHAN MCCLAIN
Had I not chosen to live there— / among the oaks and birches, / trees I’d only ever seen in poems / until then…spruce, pine, / among the jack-in-the-pulpit / (though I much preferred “lady slipper”) / the tiger lily, milkweed, the chickadee / and blue jay, even the pesky squirrel

Park Bench

Translation: Poems by Juan de Dios García

JUAN DE DIOS GARCÍA
He speaks to us of Finnish lakes, of a dialect populated by birds and fruit, of high wooded hills, perpetual snow, a petroleum sky. “In the north they’re raised on melancholy,” he says, “and their dead weigh more than those from here.” He speaks of a Greek father and a war.