You spent hard days in that place,
A house with two driveways and no exit.
Our minds bound by bandages and buckles
Reaching for an easy way of forgetting.

Our hearts melted quicker than the ice cream,
As we spoon-fed you
On a public diet of helplessness,
Talk costs a lot.

Words dripped their way down your face
Navigating paths of poor-shaven memories.
Sups of creamy consolation in a can
washed down some pain and brought up some smiles.

The neighbours didn’t know your dance,
Or the lullabies which hailed from the tapes.
Your melody was ours;
The words refused to escape us.

Seek and you shall find
Didn’t work for that key.
It was already deep within
No key, no latch, no way.

We have no handle on
This way, this truth, this life.
But now, you are within
And it is we who are without.

[In memory of my father Sean Hayes (1924–1997), his struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and visits to him in a nursing home.]