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To my grandmother.

Today, my grandmother has advanced Alzheimer's.

And, ravaged by the crippling disease, she lies on a bed with a makeshift saline drip in the back room.

Young nurses take turns and some of them even sing to her.

It's not easy to see.

She's always looked so beautiful, but today the thinness of her lips and the gaping mouth that won't close is stinging and painful.

 

What does she see as she sleeps in the silence of her illness?

 

A gust of wind in the doorway of her childhood home?

A garden mixed with the color of the faded yellow dress she wore when she was fifteen? A thick layer of dust covering the dressing table, a lit candle, a rustic comb and a beaded necklace?

Perhaps, in the darkness, she will once again see the smile of her first daughter on her lap, a child.

Maybe she'll also see the glow of the coals in the brick oven to cook the pork or the stream from the artesian well when it leaks.

But it may not all be good in the silence between her teeth.

 

I see the garden in her. A fervent childhood garden.

 

Inhabited by a talking parrot, hidden away, among the riotous foliage, immense grasses, barks and stained trunks, bricks and chunks of things serving as dwellings for frogs!

I see more.

I see the tiny things wrapped in her hands, the shoots, flower seedlings, tea leaves, bunches and bouquets.

I also see her walk.

Slowly, with the difficulty of the years on her body against the obstacle of the earth itself, some artifacts from that garden.

It was beautiful to see.

 

It was beautiful to see; her wandering about alive,

through the leaves.

 

December, 2023

First exhibited at "Na Planta" group show in São Paulo, 

December 9th and 10th, 2023.

©2023 by Matheus Chiaratti.

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