Leslie M. Rupracht: “Slow Denial”

Slow Denial

Years passed since I witnessed 
MS fracture Mom’s neurology, stealing 
her calligraphic hand, stilling her walk 
and independence, robbing all recollection. 

Unhurried decline gave rise to stroke that denied 
her swallow, silenced her song and motherly words, 
her last breath at age 74. Today, with each successive 
phone call from seven hundred miles away, 

I learn how my father’s eyes betray his art. Potter’s 
wheel not recently turned, blank canvases on the easel 
sit untouched, despite Dad’s nagging urge to paint, 
to create, before his waning vision decides 

it’s too late. Now 83, he also fights COPD. Worries 
over his final arrangements, forgets again and again 
to follow through. I gently remind. I politely nag— 
it’s a father-daughter round dance. Correspondence 

penned by an unsure hand and our déjà vu discussions 
underscore his blurred attention to details, numbers, 
and words—macular degeneration in cahoots with his 
mind’s random disposal of clear thought and memory.

Tonight, I call Dad. I wrote a poem about a ball game 
we went to when I was nine. This holds his attention. 
He says he looks forward to hearing it. Calls me a true 
artist for my writing craft. Mostly, I want to reminisce 

for fun and distraction from our legal to-do list. Tough 
topics simmer on the back burner as Dad cites the same 
Major League players I named in my poem—
Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Willie Randolph, 

among them—our famous sports heroes who 
stood at the fence between first base and bleachers, 
signed autographs as we lingered in joyful awe, 
drenched in the summer rain.

Check out the previous poem referenced in stanza 6 “The Night I Lost My Souvenir Bucket Hat”

About the Author: Leslie M. Rupracht has poems appearing or forthcoming in Aeolian Harp, Asheville Poetry Review, As It Ought To Be Magazine, Chiron Review, K’in, The Ekphrastic Review, Gargoyle, Anti-Heroin Chic, Kakalak, a chapbook, Splintered Memories (Main Street Rag), and elsewhere. Editor, poet, writer, visual artist, and rescued pit bull mama, Leslie cofounded and hosts the monthly reading series, Waterbean Poetry Night at the Mic, in Huntersville, NC (on Facebook/Instagram @WaterbeanPoetryNightattheMic).

Image Credit: “Baseball game at Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC. The Washington Nationals are playing the Philadelphia Athletics” (1925) Image courtesy of The Library of Congress

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