Morendo by Claire Scott



by Claire Scott

       musical term indicating a decrease in volume or tempo

I am having trouble memorizing you
once I memorized entire passages from The Waste Land
       April is the cruelest month, breeding
       Lilacs out of the dead land
but I am having trouble memorizing you
as you move more slowly, more softly
unfinished sentences, words left hanging
and I forget what they were, what you
were wearing, what we ate for lunch
was it a cheese omelette or leftover stew

I found a wizened peach in the cupboard
behind our pills, did you put it there? did I?
Aricept, Atenolol, Coumadin, Lunesta, Neurontin, Xanax
an alphabet of pharmacological miracles
to keep your heart beating, to keep our minds limber
do you know I sneak Lunesta the nights I sleep
sleepless beside you, asking for more time, please more time
my prayers landing wide of the mark, it’s been too long,
god has given up and moved to greener pastures

Muted days with occasional staccato bursts
       a grandson’s graduation
       a poem published in AARP
then once more a diminuendo, a ritardando
softer and slower, the tempo of grave
until you are barely a whisper
like a Luna moth at dusk
flickering in the lamplight
or a pale heart that has had enough

Leaving me bruised and bewildered, but still standing
rising from the shroud of sleep
into the haze of secondhand days
moving listlessly, little memory left
sometimes I forget I am alive
but the coffee smells fresh this April morning
the finches are singing high C’s
and dull roots are stirring with spring rain
       shantih   shantih   shantih


Claire Scott is an award-winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has appeared in the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Enizagam, and Healing Muse among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn’t. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.

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