Mennonite Poetry Home | Leonard Neufeldt



Fullness of Time

In her own time she could get hold
of things that go wrong,
and so having found her way
to the second stage
of Alzheimer’s, she explained on a bridge
arching a small shudder of water
in Minter Gardens, where we
had taken her on a Sunday,
that ever since her husband had met
a bus head-on in northern Idaho
she didn't care for gardens,
and since her heart knew who she was
she couldn't begin to understand
her older sister's devotion to genealogy,
this zeal for missing elements.
“You can’t change the past,"
not with a reading machine for macular
degeneration, not even with cataract surgery,
and her sister scheduled for both eyes,
her own eyes bright and furious
with unlearning, willing to let go
of bridge, stream, fountains, field of roses,
children, sisters all but one,
her gaze free of itself or tethered
to something far outside, beyond us,
beyond the great blue of Mount Cheam,
its glacier shadowed, inexact,
its bare peak bent by sky stretching
westward like a slope of light
called to praise by the evening bird

At night she leaves possibilities open,
window, birdless branch, eyes,
the soul, and a month ago
two nurses at the end of their day
found her five blocks away
in an intersection four lanes wide,
crosswalk zebra stripes gleaming white
between the idled cars
and horns quavering farther and farther back

the moon above her perfectly balanced,
and she at the centre, empty
summer purse turned double
in her fist, trying
without eyeglasses to remember
the way back out of the setting sun

©Leonard Neufeldt. Painting Over Sketches of Anatolia (Signature Editions, 2015). 




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