The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®

 

Tina Schumann

Rehab Fugue #1

 

My father is losing his mind
and I am holding up
half the sky. Maneuvering planets
into perpetual night.

Hourly he reassigns his possessions
new homes: the phone in the suitcase,
his wallet to the sock drawer, the remote
asleep amongst the towels.

Months earlier, after his storm of backfires,
I stood sentry. The past and present rode out
in tandem, He became an amalgamation
of selves, refuting every synaptic misfire.

Deep in the bog
of memory, he could not tell
the physician how many children he had.
He mistook eggs for coffee, water for wine.

From his inclined bed he recited
a lame rendition of Dem Bones;
his elbow connected to the telephone,
fingers to the wires in the wall.

In dreams I turned his stubbled face
left then right, a constant quest
for the angry son, fiery suitor,
the father that never was.

Eighty-two years and he still wants more.
Even the struggle will do. Another round
in the ring, the daily rope-a-dope
of life barely keeping him akimbo.

Whatever… release me
from numb creation, I am done
with madness and its grey
approaches.

The nurses think he’s charming
and we all want to live forever.

 

 

 

TINA SCHUMANN is the author of three poetry collections, As If, winner of the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize, Requiem. A Patrimony of Fugues, winner of the 2016 Diode Editions Chapbook Competition and Praising the Paradox (Red Hen Press, 2019). She is editor of Two-Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in publications such as Ascent, Cimarron Review, Crab Creek Review, Midwest Quarterly, Nimrod, Palabra, Parabola, Poemeleon, and Terrian.org.

 

 

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