Watching Names Disappear

Disease fills my father’s mouth with clouds,
thickening the words on his tongue,
memories incarcerated in a fog
that stitches time into shapes
only he can see.

Uncertainty blooms like a stain
at the back of his eye.
I hold his frustration,
a turbulent star in my hand,
as he struggles to remember who I am.

My name catches in his throat,
hesitates on the edges of his teeth,
fades on his lips,

I thought my heart would break
the first time he forgot my name,
but his eyes filled with the light
of a language all his own
as he smiled and caresed my cheek,
“I know you,
my favorite friend”
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