206. Without Words

You puff 

Your cheeks

Like a blowfish

To indicate

You’re full. 

Blow on—

As if to blow 


The glass, 

The fork,

—Whatever we’ve raised

To your lips—

To let us know,


Though you’re able

To say,

“I’m cold,”

You clutch your arms,

Rattle your teeth,

Shiver and shake

In request of

More warmth.

You pull funny faces

In place of responses.

No translation


You express yourself


When you don’t say

A word. 

The Poetry of Dementia is an ongoing project to share my family’s journey with my mother’s illness as a year of moments. We do not know whether my mother will live a full year—or perhaps she’ll live longer. Her dementia has been a bittersweet and beautiful journey that has already taken us places we never imagined. Loving and caring for her at home has fundamentally changed each of us, and daily reminds us to live in the present with love, trust and patience. Click here to read from the beginning.