“The Idiot’s Guide to Dispossession” and “Incipient Dementia”

by Shuli Lamden

The Idiot’s Guide to Dispossession


It’s easier than you think.  Once events
Take place—a spark from the chimney, a mutant cell—
Trajectory changes your datebook,
Your daily acquaintance, and conversations
You speak in someone else’s voice
Now, without your own words, following
The script.  Friends fall away.
Sometimes you remember to eat.  
What’s left—a house in a declining market—
No one will purchase the shell, 
Outdated clothes, the paintings. 
Books.   It’s all just stuff you must give away
And when everything is gone
It’s harder than you think.

Incipient Dementia

No Sunday calls for a month, then today
Incessant questioning:  What should I wear?
I can’t find my purse, the schedule
Is all messed up, I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know what to do.  Who’d have foreseen
All that she would forget, yellow post-it
Notes everywhere, and the minutes—no, hours—
Writing, rereading, attempts to revive
Thin wisps of memory, to infer from
Random accretion a full, embodied
Life.   She’s amazed when I appear and help
The simplest ways, choosing a sweater or
Answering the phone, a miracle, as if
Again she heard me mouthing my first words.