BRAIN AS TIMEPIECE (Administering the Clock-Drawing Test to My Patient With Dementia) | Jennifer Wolkin


Circle, drawn

geometrically sound

but each number stands

outside its perimeter

like lost digits

& when I ask set the time

to 10 minutes after 11 o’clock

assessing your ability

to abstract

the #2 as symbol

you place an “X”

over the 11 & 10

continuing counter-clockwise

until the 12 is gone, too, as if

you/are/erasing /time

as if, the clock is glaring

with time’s toll—

your brain is being

“X’d Out”

ventricles, widening & widening

while disease devours


the you

that is organ

tissue, at least,

until all

that remains

are those

who miss



Jennifer Wolkin is a health and neuro-psychologist, speaker, mental health advocate and mindfulness-meditation practitioner. She is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing and literary translation at Queens College. Her poetry has been published/forthcoming in a number of literature journals. Her non-fiction work, translating and sharing the science of brain research and mindfulness, has been published in Thrive Global, The Huffington Post,, and PsychCentral among others; a compilation can be found on her blog Wolkin is most passionate about writing at the intersection where the mind, body, brain and spirit meet, giving voice to those who have sometimes literally lost theirs by bearing witness to their pain (and resilience) through her writing.