Chemo Brain

by Brett Foster

So many occasions for embarrassment
forthcoming, I fully expect. Already,
so early into the regimen, those moments
of hapless emptiness with linkages
suddenly unavailable for mental retrieval:
forgetting a friend’s name, or a friend’s
children’s names, or a famous event,
saying “Monday” when “Friday” was meant,
or slurring words like a town’s exemplary prodigal,
mouth feeling lazy from drinking the sauce.
A colleague-survivor has warned me
that eventually the misses become ridiculous:
forgetting not 9/11 but the way to identify
that day as “9/11,” or forgetting the word “levee,”
and working hard to still explain his point,
busy with lengthy paraphrase. (And this
from an expert on Hurricane Katrina
and efforts at disaster-care in its aftermath.)
I hope I will never misname my loved ones,
however excusable, and I am determined
not to forget the sweet, witty soul of that poet
whose thirty-eight or so plays I regularly teach.
He played nature’s woodnotes wildly,
it was said admiringly once, and if I recall
correctly, he was born and later expired
and was buried in the scenic church
in a scenic, riverside market town in the shire
of Warwick: Stepford-upon-Rayon,
I believe it is called.

Copyright 2015, Brett Foster

Brett Foster is the author of two poetry collections, The Garbage Eater (Triquarterly Books/Northwestern UP, 2011) and Fall Run Road, which was awarded the 2012 Open Chapbook Prize. His writing has appeared in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, Southwest Review, and Yale Review.

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