Yet, He Remembers Baghdad
After Edward Thomas
He has dementia, yet he remembers Baghdad.
Hippocampus shrunken, he forgets other names.
The time of his wife’s final breath is engraved
yet he forgets who else went and who came.
He folds tissues. He clears his throat.
The aged epiglottis can’t tell water from air
He saves newspapers and empty crisp packets
His hearing aid whistles as he sighs and stares
Ink on his fingers, he annotates photographs
to remind himself and others of who he is.
Writing his name on each black and white image,
he forgets which of the five sons he lives with.
He tightens a robe around his shadowed form
quoting Jawahiri’s lines two rivers and blessed sands
As rain taps the window, he yearns for the dusty sky
where clocks tick loud: his own promised land.