Brian Docherty

Stepping into Autumn at 65

A time of new beginnings, a time for journeys,
a chance to meet new people, discover new places,

store up memories to get me through Winter.
I have just returned again from San Francisco,

and know that I can never live there now,
even for say, seven years, because I am afraid

as I have never been before, after seeing my father
lose weight and muscle tone, so that a short walk

to the pub was almost too much, then Alzheimer’s
kicked in hard and sudden; this biggest and strongest

of men became a shadow who had to ask my Mum
“Who was that guy with the beard who was here?”

and who asked me on the phone, “How’s Rose?”
forgetting that she is gone, and I do not want

to toboggan down that slope into darkness;
when my GP asks about our family medical history

I remember my Nana went the same way; I wonder
how long my Autumn will last, where I will spend

the last stage of this journey, and whether it will
matter, if I know anyone there or then, and whether

anyone will know me; in the meantime, this moment
is all there is, and the weather is surprisingly good.

Brian Docherty lived and wrote in north London for 40 years, and is now part of a growing community of writers, artists and musicians in East Sussex. His most recent publications are Only in St. Leonards: A Year on the Marina, (2017) and Blue to the Edge: for Rosemary, in remembrance (2020)