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University Life Café


chocolate chip cookie 


In the lobby of Emeritus Senior Living,  
The place where my grandmother and other seniors stay,  
There sits just beyond the receptionist at the front desk  
A cookie-laden, glass covered tray.  
Every time when my brother and I go,  
When we leave, we each take one,  
Sensing no one would know.  
Now, there are about 11-16 actual lumps of chocolate chip,  
And I assume that at least one of them  
Represents the minute before, when I prepare,  
Or the minute when I’m there and  
 I can no longer stand my grandmother’s pleas.  
You see, my grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease.  
Living in these conditions doesn’t please her at all.  
Every time we visit, it’s all of about 10-15 minutes.  
Seeing Granny is fine, but  
There aren’t too many laughs these days:  
She complains about the food,  
She says she wants to go home,  
She attempts to bribe us to get her out,  
And each time we visit now, she tells us of another woman  
Who passed away.  
Yes, seeing her is fine,  
But the aftermath is far from that.  
It’s the aftermath in which I’m haunted by her crocodile tears  
(Her underhanded, despicable attempt to stoke my fears).  
It’s the never ending calls on my mother’s cell phone  
(She’s considered changing her number to kill that incessant tone).  
But I only get ONE cookie.  
Sometimes I wonder why it doesn’t have  
5.4 lumps of chocolate chip  
For the 5.4 million families of patients  
Who also have to go through this.  
Sometimes I wonder why it doesn’t have  
Around 18 lumps  
Each one for the months  
When I wished my mother wasn’t so blunt,  
“Your grandmother has Alzheimer’s!”  
Sometimes still, I wonder why  
They don’t just make the whole cookie chocolate  
For the countless memories she’s lost throughout  
Or the ones that now push me to spout  
Such frustrated disdain from my crooked mouth.  
It should’ve been 21 lumps  
For the 21 years  
She could say MY NAME loud and clear;  
It should’ve been 75 lumps  
Because that birthday party was the happiest I’d seen her in years.  
In fact, it should be endless  
For the endless times I recall that SHE was  
An independent, no-nonsense, self-sustaining woman  
Who didn’t have to live HERE at Emeritus Senior Living.  
Or maybe there should be two holes in this cookie  
For the grandmother I’ve already lost  
And the lessons this one will unfortunately teach.  
All the while, the count of two gone  
(My mom and dad have lost one each)  
Makes it all the more likely that from these windows  
I shall see my last dawn  
(And its walls will be the last pulpit from which I preach).  
But for now, I’m only here to visit  
And for my grandmother and I,   
This is the current stake.  
So 11-16 chocolate chips per cookie  
Is what I must continue to take.