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Breath & Shadow

Winter 2022 - Vol. 19, Issue 1

"Stirring Memories"

written by

Kathleen Grieger


I start a stir fry for dinner

Cup, kettle, basmati, I walk to the sink

As I try to measure, my mind will not share

Preparations, proportions, ratio forgotten One to two? Three to one? One to four?

I slide to the floor, feeling useless

Holding hope that the number will show itself soon

Glen finds me sobbing, still clutching the kettle. I choke out, "I can't cook anymore" He soothes, "One to two, I'll make it you rest"

As he helps me up, I hand him the pan


Waking out of a seizure, I slide tongue along teeth.

Feeling space, I get up and move to the mirror

Trying to see where I've broken a tooth I stare at myself in frustration

Unable to retrieve if this gap is new

I walk back to bed, hoping Glen will stir memories

Hugging, he whispers, "Don't worry

When you were seven, you had the tooth pulled. The dentist sure it would make room for others"

Finally calm, I fall fast asleep


Making granola bars, I blend ingredients.

I stir adding flour, applesauce and oats.

When I reach for brown sugar it's missing

I trace steps and search. It is not in the cabinet, or in the cupboard

Yanking open the door of the preheated oven, I'm relieved it's not melted in there

Knowing my habit of misplacing things, a friend on the phone suggests checking the fridge.

On the shelf I see sugar, simply waiting for me. I laugh and hang up, crack the eggs and continue


Images are indelible

I wait, knowing thoughts must remain in my mind

Reflections may move me from moment to moment

I search, stirring shadows, seeking answers of time

Feeling foolish, I scavenge from others.

As I stir their memories, they become one of mine

Previously published in Quill and Parchment

Kathleen was a woman with epilepsy who had brain surgery to try and calm her brain. She started writing about her experiences. New seizure areas kept coming. She lost the ability to speak and learned sign language. New seizure areas caused a loss of words and  meanings, so she turned to photography to express herself. More seizures came, and her brain forgot to communicate with her right leg. She turned to making jewelry.  Thankfully, there is art in everything.

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