Mary Rohrer-Dann

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Dementia Detail

It’s just Mom and me today.

When her bedroom door opens,
I call, Good morning.
         She glares. Nothing is good.

I set out her breakfast.
         Don’t watch me eat.
         You’re always watching me.

Leave the kitchen.
         She calls after me.
         How would you like it?
         Your own children
         telling you what to do,
         whispering behind your back?

Pour a cup of coffee.
         You made it too weak again.
Ask if she wants more fruit.
         I can get it, I’m not stupid.

Time for morning meds, I say.
        None of it does any good.
How about a shower, today?
        Why? You think I’m dirty?

She reaches for the walker, shuffles to the door.
She turns and turns and turns the knob.
(Front door, back door, basement―
all fitted with covers.)

Finally, I say, It sticks sometimes, let me get it.
She pushes past.
You can’t use the walker on the stairs, Mom.


She hurls it down the stone steps,
turns back into the kitchen.
          You never cared for anyone but yourself.
          I’m not your mother.
I gather the walker, bring it inside.

Eyes huge, she coils in panic.
         Where are my parents?
         Do they know what you’re doing?

She buries her face in her hands,
sobs, shoulders quaking.
Swats away my hand.
         I want to go home.


Mary Rohrer-Dann writes and paints in State College, PA.  Recent works have appeared or are forthcoming in venues such as San Antonio Review, The Drabble, Literary Heist, Flashes of Brilliance, Flash Fiction magazine, and others.