Ensconced in a wheelchair, my mother holds up her feet and wiggles them, showing off new pale beige moccasins, fur-lined, soft and roomy for her swollen feet. “My sister got them for me,” she tells a nursing home attendant, gleeful. But really it was me, her daughter, become unimaginably old.
You cry in a voice that is not your own, act like dead weight, call me horrible names. But sometimes you look me in the eye and smile. Sometimes you remember. I brush your beautiful hair and think, That’s alright my love, I’m also not who I used to be.
Julian Dores lives in Brussels, Belgium. He enjoys writing fiction and taking candid photographs of everyday life on the street. You can read more of his work on his website.
We would watch the same series on TV every night. There was something reassuring in watching the bedraggled, anti-social detective’s steady but honourable mental decline. She’d point at the screen and joke that that was me. Since my diagnosis she doesn’t say it anymore, but then she doesn’t need to.
John Peter Kay is a primary school teacher by day, and a poet by stealth; who finds time to write during his commute to work. He irregularly reads his work with Ware Poets. After a decade abroad, John now lives with his wife and daughter near London in the South of England. His blog can by found at balloonysaintjohn.wordpress.com
“When she was little, my daughter and I used to cook dinner every day. Her favorite part was dessert because I would let her help out the most. Anyway, though, I feel like I know you,” she said, looking at me.
Smiling, I said: Tell me more about it, mom.
Ricardo is a 19-year-old student from Puerto Rico. He plans to write and write until he’s mastered it. A task for a lifetime.
It’s all we have.
Alan took himself from us, so young, when she still had hundreds.
Saturday she couldn’t remember that the bedroom—that dusty shrine—was once his.
Yesterday, his name dropped away.
Soon she’ll gaze at me and see a stranger. We’ll be down to forty-nine.
After chasing his muse from Virginia to Manhattan, Richard Day Gore settled in Southern California, where he spends his time pushing around words, paint brushes, and guitar strings.
My father called from somewhere.
He needed to sign some important documents and he’d forgotten his name again.
I asked where he was, I asked where he’d been.
I asked if he was alright, if he was wearing shoes and clothes.
He said, Just spell my name for me, son.
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, though legally blind, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
I visit him in the nursing home every week. He’s in the lunchroom now, his food untouched, diligently filling in coloring book outlines with crayons. He no longer recognizes me.
“Are you here to eat or to color?” he asks.
“To color,” I say as I sit close beside him.
Alex thinks that most nursing homes are simply repositories for human flotsam.
“You are your Momma’s sweetest girl,” Janeen cooed as she changed her baby’s diaper and pulled a soft yellow onesie over the child’s shoulders.
“It’s time for your lunch, Momma,” Nancy said, helping Janeen to her feet and gently placing her gnarled hands on the walker.
“Don’t forget your babydoll.”
Traci Mullins has more than three decades of experience in coaching, editing, and collaborating on hundreds of non-fiction books. She is currently working on unearthing the girl who used to love stories.
Fog surrounds our seaside home and fills my father’s mind. He doesn’t understand that I alone ward off the nursing home.
He tries to escape to his army camp. I follow his footprints to the water. A knot cramps my stomach.
Dropping to my knees, I think he’s calling me.
Ann Zimmerman lives with her wife and 2 cats in Colorado, where she writes, hikes, skis, golfs, enjoys photography and grandchildren. See more at annzimmermanblog.wordpress.com.
I was never so afraid
one night in winter,
when you were lost
you simply walked out
not saying a word.
the danger was real
where did you go?
I’ve worried so much.
To see you this way
it’s not fair,
you’re a whole different person.
Ana M. Torres (aka A.M. Torres) is the author of the Child Series beginning with Love Child which was first published in 2011. She has also published her poetry books Shadowed Tears, and Turmoil. She currently lives in New York with her two sons. See more at christmas1102.wixsite.com/mysite.