Alzheimer Christ

What he has written
he has written, he says:
a name which signifies this self,
flickers behind the eyelids
and eludes its owner.
Leave the sign lest I forget.

I am become a ritual
of vacuous questions.
Within a fog dense and damply cruel
through to the bones is hid
the identity of things.

Familiarity is a stranger;
Alien the ordinary.
Woman behold your son.
Woman behold your
son mother father self.
Self knows no son.
Mother, what is a daughter?
Have I a wife, father?
Why have they abandoned me?
Iron of nail anguishes my hands.
Brain affirms this time the pain.

Into your hands.
But nail is for fingers.
Nail, nail, fingernail.
Pink polish ring cut
quick moon file.

While I thirst I thirst;
cup will come too late.
I of the half-minute mind
will not know thirst then.
Tip the brown fluid sideways and back,
Rhythm and blue china, dance and thrill.
Spill, spoil, soil.
Thirsty tell me I am.

They do not know what they do
these faces and hands which
hurry and flurry,
strip, sear, sear, search;
voices which obliterate my past
more culpably than I,
forget I was not ever thus.
Lead kindly light.
Forgive I will. I will,
Lead kindly. Lead, light.

When fails the recognition,
when your name is beyond my sounding,
when my prayer is my obliviousness,
O God of the creative future,
from your paradise of perfect recall
and mind entire,
remember me