my grandmother says, from her bed

at the Alzheimer’s Center.

I admire the poetry of her words,

the unusual syntax, the regular meter:

all the girls were there, and gorgeous.


I wonder which year she is in, which room.

I imagine the girls are dancing.

I imagine my grandfather there.

I wonder if he notices any of the girls

are gorgeous except for her.


My grandmother, whose hair

was once so thick the rain bounced off it, she said.

My grandfather, who loved her

more than she loved him.


I remember their bickering, how it made

us sad. I could not have made it

with anyone else, she said.


I kiss her cheek, I hold

her cracked hands. They are always dry.

I wonder about the part of her that is here,

the part that is elsewhere.

We do not like to visit her,

I hope she does not know.


All the gorgeous girls are leaving,

but my grandmother remains,

awake in her life, though

she doesn’t know it.


Carlene Kucharczyk is a freelance writer currently living in Connecticut. She earned her MFA in Poetry from North Carolina State University and BA in Literature from Wagner College. Her work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly and Strange Horizons, and she is the recipient of a scholarship from The Frost Place Poetry Seminar. She is interested in the role narrative plays in creating empathy.