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Maureen Clark

Paradoxical Lucidity

                        for my father


in the future    we will say that you suffered Alzheimer’s    

although suffer is not the right word             

you stumbled                          you stuttered               you were submerged  


you lost your keys                   missed the exit                        forgot how to make change

could not lift your foot            over the threshold                   into the shower

forgot why you held a toothbrush                   what the soap was for 


every morning a new landscape         of foreign grasses to navigate

you stood crying at 3 am        in the pasture             

you sit beneath your oil painting        of ducks taking off in the sunset        


in that god-awful recliner                   your brushes barely dry         

and know nothing of yourself the artist          the jewelry maker

your marksmanship with a gun          and ask            are you the girl who brings the lunch


and I am          a lucid moment in a paradoxical world         

Maureen Clark is a retired assistant professor of the University of Utah, where she taught writing for 20 years. She was the president of Writers @ Work 1999-2001, and the director of the University Writing Center from 2010-2014. Her poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Review, The Southeast Review, and Gettysburg Review, among others. Her first book, This Insatiable August, is forthcoming from Signature Books in Spring 2024.


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