by Lynn Crosbie
Strawberry month, long after the blood moon, the bleeding orbits in my
Spread over us: I was counting fear, dropping the decimal, and starting again
as he slipped and took the stairs like a rocket.
What time is it? he said. What time is it?
he asked until the ambulance came,
And this terrible news reached out for all of us.
Struck with paralysis, I am carried across the plank floor, where the scorpions
loiter, on the wolf-grey night the stars fell as hard as silver spurs.
He smells something like vetiver and orange zest; His chest zings beneath
His light linen robe, printed with pirates with sabres in their mouths.
He smiles at my questions: Are you angry with us . . . sir?
Then smacks the moon from the sky like a piñata and my father and I swipe at it
until a hundred answers, shaped like little animals, are disgorged.
The Corpses of the Future is a sustained, confessional new collection of poems by Lynn Crosbie. It tells the story of her father’s battle with frontotemporal dementia and blindness, following a stroke. The poems chronologically recount the poet’s conversations and time with her father, and capture his still-astonishing means of communicating. The book’s title is his sardonic remark. Crosbie considers dementia to be a symbolic language and as such, similar to poetry. The author’s attempts to understand her father’s distress, pain, fear, and brave love are assisted by her understanding of the “negative capability” required of readers of poetry.
This is a harrowing book, with moments of joy and even levity. It is a collection of poetry about love, and love’s persistence, even under the most unspeakable circumstances.