By Kelly R. Samuels
Oriented by Three
Time was you knew the time and that late was never good. Would
scold the dawdling girl who wondered why any kind of presence was
needed when the sun shone so, a light breeze ruffled.
Morning. Midday. Early evening. All the windowless rooms look the
same. No shadow, no full-leaved tree or snow to show. This is the
season of some sort of discontent. Chilly forearms, eyes watering. I
drop you at the front door to find you wandering the lobby, asking
where, where and a kind stranger, saying, There she is, now.
We’ve come around to who, whom. And we answer in this way, this
the last to stick.
(**this poem refers to how medical staff are
often taught that a patient must be able to name time, place and
Transposition: this here, then
there, quick as. ur, ru? Are you
there, were you ever? The two of you as girls
playing at anagrams, at palindromes. Madam, please
refer me to. What will aid with, now.
We talk on the phone while you take notes
and laugh, saying your skill at spelling
has gone, has flown the coop. Some days, you claim, Someday,
I won’t know who you are. Even now, sometimes, you
just gesture, call me you.
This, in the car, with your grocery list in hand,
the word bananas always giving you trouble.
And we chant MISSISSIPPI as we cross over that body of water
and talk of who you miss—all those long-dead people.
Dare we forget. There you are, dear. Read me
what I wrote.
(**this poem references the transposition of sounds or letters that sometimes marks cognitive
Kelly R. Samuels is the author of the full-length collection All the
Time in the World (Kelsay Books) and two chapbooks: Words Some of Us
Rarely Use and Zeena/Zenobia Speaks. She is a Pushcart Prize and
Best of the Net nominee with work appearing in The Massachusetts
Review, Court Green and RHINO. She lives in the Upper Midwest