“Remember these three words,” she said,
“I’ll ask for them later,” and she spread
a sheet of blank paper in front of me.
“Now draw a clock face nice and neat
and indicate this time: a quarter to three.”
“Two forty-five,” I replied with a smile,
drawing carefully hour and minute hands,
she watching me all the while, then taking
notes when I seemed to hesitate doubting
how this would measure my mental state.
“There!” I said as I completed the task
and pushed the paper toward her, but she
ignored it as she leaned forward to ask,
“Now what are the three words I spoke
a minute or two ago?” I didn’t know.
I wracked my short-term memory, then
my vocabulary, then I sheepishly smiled.
“I don’t recall.” She nodded, wrote
something that I’m sure was ominous
in my medical record, a diagnostic note.
Suddenly, looking through the window,
I notice the streetlights are coming on.
I’d forgotten how late in the year it is,
how much this young autumn has aged,
how much I thought left to me has gone.
Darkness is falling outside, and inside
she closes the book on me, puts it away,
tosses my hand-drawn clock in the trash,
and I know not much will abide in this
brash season of physical and mental slide.
I have coming a forgetting of wallet, keys,
of misremembering conversations, names,
addresses, staples such as these. I’ll forget
who I am, and finally even love, that last
a loss toward Oblivion I will most regret.
Rob Jacques resides on a rural island in Washington State’s
Puget Sound. His poetry appears in literary journals including
Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Amsterdam Quarterly, Poet
Lore, The Healing Muse, American Literary Review, and
Assaracus. A collection of his poems, War Poet, was
published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2017. A second
collection, Adagio for Su Tung-p’o, will be published by
Fernwood Press in the fall of 2019.
by Rob Jacques