It’s the steady click
of an 808 beat
as my heels thump against
the wet concrete
through the round
pressing winter silence
piercing and strong
‘till I lose my balance.

Bruised knees
and scraped hands
my eyes at the ground
while my doctor stands.
She shows me the charts
and then explains
I’m neurodegenerative—
                   Outside it starts to rain.

And I’m dizzy.
             And the lights flash.
                          And then my sight’s gone.
                                  And my hands are trembling.
                     And I am confused.
                            And my head pounds.
In the trembling, transient, disorienting vertigo I’m there.

Instead of the
click, click; click, click
Of my deep chocolate suede
It’s a click thump, click
of my heels and cane and—

Instead of my matching dress
To my matching socks
To my matching sweater
I dressed in darkness
With the lights on
And—thank someone—
I can still read and
listen and understand
But my writing is bound
by momentary lucidity.

I am elated
or light-headed—

And I can’t hold
your hand because
mine tremble and
I’m embarrassed or
ashamed that I can’t keep up.

And my vision goes—

And I want to pick up
my phone and call you
But I can’t; not because
I’m afraid you’ll say no, or
I’m afraid you’ll see me differently, or
I’m afraid we aren’t—
But I can’t hold the phone
And I can’t find the buttons.

And I want to call my new doctor
and ask him if this is normal
But I’ve forgotten his name
and his assistant’s name
and his phone number
and the time of my appointment
and it’s gone.

But you’re all still here.

But what if I have to
find a new pace
and you can’t.

But what if I fall
and can’t get up.

But what if I grapple
and lose my thoughts
and am no longer me.

And you love ME
But you hate MS

And I do too.