local_library In the Alzheimer’s Ward at Saint Jude’s

by Daniel Lawless

Published in Issue No. 165 ~ February, 2011

Stalling, not wanting to stare, I stare

Into the ragged day-room’s aquarium,

Unesalle fantastique sous la

Un-updated since pin boys crouched on

Drifts of plastic coral like multi-colored
mud, fake rocks,

A tiny wreck and treasure chest, the yellow

In cast iron boots I take to be my

In uselessness. Wisps of something white

Have made a Q-Tip of his brandished

I’ve brought lemon drops, kind words, a
picture book of polar bears.

Long seconds pass.

Tap, Tap. Smudge a finger round the glass to
rouse the occupants.

Nothing. A vacant glance, and gone. The same,
or nearly,

As if I’d turned instead behind me and rapped
upon a wide forehead –

All those bright

Echoing rooms in which a dozen times an

A mouse will soon excrete a pellet

K. pops in her mouth one mid-century August

A green squawking stalk its perch above a
grand odd-shaped thing.

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Daniel Lawless teaches writing at St. Petersburg College, in Florida. He has published work most recently in The Louisville Review, Poems Niederngrass, Les Cahiers du Lez, The Adirondack Review, SNR, White Mule, Prick of the Spindle, The Ampersand Review, Right Hand Pointing, Fraglit, Nano, and Chamber Four, among others.