Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My Mother Doesn’t Live Here Anymore--By Shelly Blankman--United States

My Mother Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Her brain is scavenged now by the scarab beetles
of Alzheimer’s, leaving mom drifting into a starless
night, her sky blue eyes clouded, her words soft and

scrambled, anagrams on a page that can’t be turned.
memories gnawed away... marathon games of Scrabble,
listening to Sinatra swing, gushing over old movie stars,

like the time she met Dick Powell. I wonder if those moments
are locked somewhere in the prison of her mind. Her land is
strange, her language foreign. She is a child, wanting a cookie

she cannot name or reach. Her rehab is her crib she cannot
escape, no matter how hard she tries. I leave her screams, leaving
bloodless stab wounds of a scalpel. The demon of disease stole

her brain, her body, but wears her face. She doesn’t live here anymore.
She doesn’t live anywhere. Not the mother I knew. And when the
darkness swallows the sun and her lids droop over her glazed eyes,
I kiss her goodbye, perhaps for the last time. Her midnight is unending.

She’ll never know I was there but I will. I’ll remember the smell of tea with
honey, the warm sheets that smelled like her, the cool fresh air on my face
as she sang with Sinatra...and I smile through my tears.

Shelly Blankman and her husband are empty-nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland with their 4 cat rescues. They have two sons: Richard, 32, of New York, and Joshua, 30, of San Antonio. Her first love has always been poetry, although her career has generally followed the path of public relations/journalism. Besides Whispers, Shelly's poetry has been published by Silver Birch Press, Verse-Virtual, Ekphrastic: writing and art on art and writing and Visual Verse.


  1. Dear Shelly,
    With you all the way on the ravages of Alzheimer's.
    Your poem conveys your heart's pathos for your loved one.
    Thank you.

  2. Alz is a dreadful disease--robbing cared for and care-giver of solace

  3. I enjoyed reading your work, very moving...

  4. Shelly,
    A great poem. Welcome to Whispers if you are new, a warm welcome from me even if you are not...
    Yours truly,
    David Fox

  5. You have written it very well here--the stranger who wears her face, and the heartbreak of that.

  6. This poem brought a lump to my throat Shelly, I am with you all the way here.Thank you for sharing with such sensitivity.

  7. Shelly,

    My heart was and still is pounding with reflections and memories as I read "My Mother Doesn't Live Here Anymore." I'm trying to hold back the tears that this beautiful poem is provoking in me. I truly enjoyed this. Thank you so much for sharing it. Continued blessings!

    -MJ (

  8. Shelly "My Mother Doesn't Live Here Anymore" is good writing.
    A great take on Alzheimer's, or maybe just growing old.
    The way you scribed this sticks in ones head.
    Thanks for sharing.