Ann Keiffer

Tangled Strands

Before, he spoke five languages,
learned Russian for fun,
punted for the Jets in the NFL,
adventured all over the world,
chaired the Neurology Department
at Yale. A handsome man
strong of character and stature.
Now, at 73, he doesn’t know
how to get into the car,
or the rote steps required
to brush his teeth or shave
or get dressed by himself,
or find the front door
or the bathroom
in his own house.
At an Italian restaurant
with his wife and friends,
his entree arrives—
cacciatore over spaghetti.
He makes no move,
his face benign, blank,
not angry today.
His wife draws his
attention to his dinner,
cuts some food,
picks up his fork,
places the fork in his hand.
He looks at her
—face vague but for a flicker
of something like rescue—
thinks to say, “Thank you.”
Then ponders his plate
with all those tangles.

Ann Keiffer
November, 2019

Image Credit: Digital collage by Ann Keiffer, Cacciatore with spaghetti integrated with a brain image showing plaques and tangled strands of neurons of the Alzheimer brain


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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