Huntington’s

Laura Dempsey

I knew he was sick—he’d told me
‘bout Grandpa dying this way.
First his mind got cloudy, then it just went blank.
First he horded nickels away in mason jars,
buried them under the floorboards, then ever’one was out to get him.

He saw me in the grocery, said, “Alice” awful mean—like he used to
when he meant it.
I dropped the plums (they burst open), I dropped
the bread. He stumbled toward me like a drunk—face full of rage,
lips writhing like he might scream, the madness got a hold a him.

I couldn’t see my dad
in those eyes. He was gone.
I ran. I ran away.
I didn’t even turn to see if he was after me.
Next I knew, I read him in the Telegraph Obituary.