The telephone call from my father reignites a memory from twenty years ago. I’m walking up the tree lined avenue of The Miltown Institute on my way to a lecture. It is mid-May but unusually cold. In an instant, everything changes.
pink cherry blossom
where am I going?
‘Where are you?’, my father asks. He sounds anxious.
‘At home’, I say, just watching television. You okay?’
There is silence as he thinks about what I’ve said. This is his second night in the rehab unit and I am guessing he dozed off for a while and now can’t figure out where he is.
‘I don’t know what’s happening’, he says. ‘What am I supposed to do? I’m lost, I’m lost.’
It’s nearly midnight and I can hear how quiet it is there. ‘It’s the middle of the night’, I say. I tell him to go back to sleep and I’ll talk to him in the morning. But it takes time and a lot of repetition to reassure him. Eventually he tires and goes to sleep.
But I cannot sleep. I ruminate on the fear in his voice when he said: ‘I’m lost, I’m lost.’
in our tin house
rolling over the roof
this ancient wind