Dementia Patients at Joshua Tree

by Jonah Dorrance

My grandpa had to be here because he's a runner.
He flies when our backs turn for a second, silently, in a
Kirkland gray sweatshirt that needs to be rolled
over his wrists because he's shrinking

HELP me move these cars-

every day. "Where are you going?" we asked then,
when he checked the lock, cracked the door, bathed
his tan hand in sun,
"Back," he would say.

I’m knee deep in piss out here!

The doors here, they're locked for
runners like him. Language lost he can only
turn from them with shame, and burrow
his being into the walls

Take me home, take them

to flake away in time. The weight of my palms
suddenly turn to tonnage and before a thought,
without a glance, I open the exit to the mountains

I cannot see I can’t god damn it

the nurses pound the chalk linoleum and desert dust
floats in, through the tempest
he sprouts his copper wings, he strides and stretches
The sky with his breadth,

Don’t touch them they’re mine!

we run below,
desert heat on our ashen heels,
locusts in our ears, drowning our cries,
"Fly!" I say, baying back the thrash of nurses—

The water is too cold please

And he's higher than I ever knew,
farther than a reach,
and we watch. Earthbound, and

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