Why must everyone mumble?

I read lips, but peering at a soft-talker


across a cave-dark room, his mouth

concealed by a jungle of facial hair…


I feel like a doomed glacier— shrinking.

My husband tosses his stained shirt on a chair.


I glance at him in the bathroom mirror, remind him,

You aren’t alone, as I pluck gray hairs


from my comb. I shed like a Persian cat.

Bones as brittle as yesterday’s toast.


I’ve shrunk three inches in height,

lost core-strength, grip-strength, memory.


Not just names—even simple words,

common phrases. Has my brain gone soft


like some worn-out bicycle tire?

Ten years from now, will I recognize


my own children, recall where I came from?

If you call my name, will I look up?


For decades I made hand-thrown pottery,

pressed my fingerprints onto vases, teapots, mugs.


Fired to white heat, my pots emerged from the flames

dressed in colors of sun-baked canyons, moon-lit lakes.


Historic artifacts, our pottery outlasts us.

Now I work at my keyboard— archeologist


on a dig into my buried past.

My future…?


Johanna DeMay

Johanna DeMay grew up in Mexico City, the bilingual child of American parents. In love with the power of language, she began writing poems to bridge the gap between her worlds. Resettled in New Mexico, she made her living for forty years as a studio potter. Now retired, she divides her time between writing and volunteering with the immigrant community. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and two anthologies. “Waypoints,” a full collection of her work, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2022.

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