White Room

 

The Self Portraits of William Utermohlen

I lie on the bed

They sit around me

These strangers with familiar voices

In the white room

I think we are waiting for something

Or someone

These strangers, they look at me

They mutter words I don’t understand

A man wearing a white coat walks in

He stands next to my bed

He speaks not to me

But to these strangers

They are talking about me I know

But what I don’t understand

Irritated, I kick off the covers

Mother! They chide me and pull them back

 

About the poem: This is a poem about dementia, the hallmark of the disease being loss of memory. I write about a scene I came across during my rounds in the hospital–an elderly lady in the advanced stages of dementia is lying on the bed surrounded by her caring relatives.

About the image: These are a series of self portraits that William Utermohlen, an American artist embarked on after learning he had Alzheimer’s disease. 

2 thoughts on “White Room

  1. Anica McFarlane

    Moving and amazing….to capture the emotion of that moment. The portraits are a capsule if what is happening.

    Reply

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