by Sue Proffitt

Dr Wild. The first.

Taker-away of your driving licence –
unforgiveable deprivation.

Overall picture moderate
to low. Definitely some decline.
Scan shows slight shrinkage.

For the first time –
possible Alzheimer’s?

Remember these three words
in this order. Boot. Purse. Poppy.
I’ll come back to them later.

I’m doing this with you
in a neutral room, under
the silent regard of the clock.
Name? Yes. As you struggle
with your address, name
of the prime minister, what year it is
I answer for you silently.

Boot. Purse. Poppy.
I push a red poppy’s petals inside
your small white purse, lock them
in the boot of the car
you can’t drive. There.
Ready for you to retrieve.

So can you remember those
three words I told you earlier?

No. Your eyes, bright, frantic,
gaze at hers, your little laugh
that will slide to a sob
when we’re back in the car.
Here they are!
Wrenching the boot open,
pressing the purse into your hands,
without moving. Here they are!

from The Lock-Picker, Palewell Press, 2020 (soon to be published)