Rebecca A. Spears



Yes, my mother is away.
No, today I won’t see her.
The dementia fractures her
the same way ice splits a rock.
In winter the ices freezes
into the rock’s flaws
and makes a strong seam.
In spring, each split widens
just as the dementia fractures us.

Yes, it haunts me.
No, she doesn’t know me.
Yes, she never will again.
Like the Lost Pines I love
and the Lost Maples,
she is separate from me
but still a striking presence
like the wild, floating leaves
frosted on a winter’s night.

Yes, she once knew me
intimately, but not entirely.
Now it is nearly the same—
not entirely, but intimately.
Yes, her heart knows.
But no, she can’t comprehend.
Against the pale sky
a cardinal colors the view
for a minute, then flies away.


REBECCA A. SPEARS, author of The Bright Obvious (Finishing Line), and Brook the Divide (forthcoming, 2020), has her work included in TriQuarterly, Calyx, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Verse Daily, Ars Medica, and other journals and anthologies. She has received awards from the Taos Writers Workshop and Vermont Studio Center; she is a recent Pushcart nominee.


Read more by Rebecca A. Spears:

Poem in Narrative
Poem in TriQuarterly
Essay in r.kv.r.y.