Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"She Still Didn't Come"

The book The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey is a novel that highlights the high and low points of a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Jake, the main character is the one who suffers from Alzheimer’s and in the novel his wife Helen dies. In class we created a “found poem” where we took excerpts from a specific section of the novel of our choosing. I chose a section when Jake is mourning and wishing he could see his dead wife as he has read that people who have lost loved ones sometimes see or sense their deceased loved ones. He cleared his house of milk because his wife hated milk to the point where it was a “near phobia.” I chose this section because when I think of Alzheimer’s, after reading and learning a little bit about it, I think of a person being a little lost. In addition, when I think of someone who has recently lost someone they love, I also associate that with an immense feeling of loss and feeling both physically and mentally lost. So those two things, loss and Alzheimer’s, combined is a perfect example of the chaos that ensues when suffering from such a horrible disease. My poem is supposed to display the heartache from losing his wife, and the confusion of not having her around anymore. Then with the limited memories that Jake has, and as his memory progressively declines, he is lost both literally and emotionally. I loved this section of the novel because I think it is raw and it is powerful. I titled my found poem “She Still Didn’t Come.”

 “She Still Didn’t Come”

Willing her ghost to come
He settled for black coffee
He lay with his teeth gritted as his night vision
Interrogated each pixel of darkness in the bedroom
In there, between there, from there, he calculated, Helen will appear
He has never been a superstitious man
He bartered with his solitude
It didn’t have to creep in the dark
Being so busy waiting for ghosts
He was open to the possibility
One may see or get the distinct feeling that the loved one is there
In this time his only comfort was the regular visits
She gave him access to the brilliance of the sights, smells, and sounds
Willing her ghost to come
He rid the house of milk, knowing Helen’s near phobia of it.

She still didn’t come.

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