The Great Lakes

published in Poetry City, U.S.A.
made into a song by composer Sarah Miller



On the scan of her after-stroke brain, we see her alien graymatterscape

darkened by pools of dead neurons we dub The Great Lakes of Dementia:


Lake Nonsense, Lake Lost Way, Lake Can’t Be Left Alone,

Lake Scrambled Space and Time, Lake Black Hole.


She greets the plumber, sock on one hand, pants at her ankles, oh, the turmoil

in Ukraine. From her chair into walls she can’t see, she bolts,


rebounds, shuffles over her big toes on the way to her piano.

The Chopin etude she first learned more than sixty years ago


clangs atonal until one arpeggio, two, three, harmonize past her plaques and tangles,

hammer a chain of heat through the piano’s lacquered burls, wires, ivory keys,


the yolk-yellow finches perched like grace notes on the feeder,

our helpless hands in our laps as we listen, submerged with her


in Lake Pleaseanneal, Lake Inexpress, Lake Sing Hilarity, Lake Nothing, Lake Boundless.