You said ‘bitch’ which I have not heard
you accuse before, like that. It is an unkindness
wedged amongst broken exposed neurons.
It is an insult without interpretation, a word
that robs our sense of kin-ness, confuses
kind in deconstruction with cruel revelation.
Where was ‘bitch’ before entering your mouth as
utter contempt for your consideration? Betrayal
of layers—or delamination of mind?
Somewhere between memory and repetition,
intent and imagination, lies the confluence
of meaning and demeaning in grey shadows.
This is the catch, as time tears your fabric,
like a wind reducing buildings to their bones in
an empty street, and wandering, a lone canine stray.
2015 © Andie Davidson
This poem was provoked by the experience of my mother, slipping from all we knew into degrees of dementia. Mainly at present it is forgetfulness, but in this, a forgetting of context, and of trust, in her own capacity and of others. There must be an awareness that all is not as it was. When reminded of things quickly forgotten or misplaced, in moments of greater clarity, a dawning, just as dawnings themselves become misty experiences, that mind is slipping, and with it the crafted character. How much of personality is soul, and how much a fabricated façade? Not to be false, but even to be what we want to be. Can memories of others’ patterns of behaviour and speech be as falling beams in a collapsing house? That fall into places previously occupied by our own character? Or does the fabric collapse just expose our more basic instinctive responses? I don’t know. The poem merely expresses this doubt and the sadness of it. Again, my written style is to use many ambiguous words, allusion and internal cross-reference to create layers of meaning from rereading the poem several times.