[Alzheimer's] [raw footage] [early afternoon]                                        —Dennis Hinrichsen

                                                                                  for my grandmother

If we meet in a room near a curtain of rain

If I am a desert of dust and talc

A syringe underwater

If I am blossoming again but without scent

A piece of film blackening

Beautiful because no one’s there


I can stare // you

know // I am

good at staring //

I can stare

so long // say

at reeds under

water // or at

water over reeds //

or at the current

in both // the aqua

electrical // I can

feel that place

in me // with time // un-

folding //

—in motion // perpetual

motion // cut

from time // the

room // the day //

—that spiraling

nest // like a heaven


... but then cut and/or blink and/or thirst and/or sun-on-the-wall-like-a



— but the wall // like the afternoon // burning



[zona pellucida]

                            —Mother // I have blessed us // I have taken

father’s dress

& given it to Jesus //

—father doesn’t need it anymore // he can be boy again

with just his body //

that heaven-chilled wound // sorrow  //

which to us was harm  //

now a sail of breathing // different harbor // zona


pellucida  //

                              —he’s new worm now // soul static // speck

of blood for a heart //


—& so this glyph  // which is not revenge // but prayer //

believing only in the cell’s half nothings // zero

& zero &

zero dividing //

—when he’s fully boned // kited // in full possession

of his eyes //

may the gloved hands there // faces

shadowed // briefly brace with adoration // & encircle him





I was not cold // I was not distant // I was a

machine that observed well // mornings //

so when he craned

to scan the soft flesh // I craned & pawed // imagined

the blonde grains gone // the smoothed perfection //

—& when

the blade bit // I bit // I tilted // zoomed //

—his eyes

were still alive then // as warm as farm-gathered eggs //

—bloodshot membrane // chalaza  //

tethering gray-blue dots //

so when he rubbed at the weariness there // I rubbed //

& when they powered down & snapped

I let my own lenses snap

—I was not a gun saying no  // cold bullet of

son // give me everything you own //

I was skeletal // mechanical //

—I loved  that he smoked when he shaved // deep drag

ghosting lungs // seek the stupor //

 —then puff  across the blade // as if to bless it

AUDIO ON // faucet dripping as if from an opened vein


[Alzheimer's] [anatomy of an action as lost text]

she blinks

(I smell papyrus burning // not

one great fire // but fire

driven by coup //

—rebel specks in the blood // revolutions)

hands caged

in sunlight

(or just old scrolls // crumbling

brains in a heap //

—no way to copy the code // the Q document

gone // Sappho

gone // Inventio Fortunata  gone //

but the whirlpool there //

—the Arctic)


(disconnected pieces of land)

blued // bloodless

(—unmoored // the compass

pivot) eyes

wild                                              (all vector stripped from them)


Dennis Hinrichsen

Dennis Hinrichsen is the author of Skin Music, co-winner of the 2014 Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press. His previous books have won the Akron, FIELD, and Tampa Poetry Prizes. He has new poems appearing or forthcoming in 32 Poems, The Chariton Review, Cloudbank, FIELD, Map Literary, Permafrost, Rock & Sling, Salamander, and Weber. He lives in Lansing, Michigan and is currently serving at the area’s first Poet Laureate.

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