Descent into Madness

dverse Posted by Peter Frankis in Poetics – Poetry as witness

It began so slowly
and because you were so
outgoing and charismatic
I just couldn’t see the signs
hair-line cracks in your sanity
till it became too obvious
too scary, too real
till that day
I looked into your eyes
and you weren’t there.
How can a personality disappear?
Where does it hide?
Or did it seep out
little by little into the air
disperse into a billion
molecules of forgetfulness
that must surely
orbit Jupiter by now.
Occasionally, I check the mirror
afraid of what I’ll not see
looking back at me
like you looking at me
but seeing something
in the far distance.

Process Notes:
Not a recent event but one which lives with me. My first husband died in 1974 at age 22 of suicide.

15 thoughts on “Descent into Madness

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this – Your portrait of the gradual molecular loss of the self – I think about my father-in-law’s descent into Alzheimer’s – there was never a moment – even looking back now – where we could say it started, that was the point…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debi, That sensation of looking into someone’s eyes and realizing “you weren’t there” — I know it in a somewhat different context, but it makes the ultimate loss that much more tragic. You portray it plainly, honestly, and lovingly, and the sadness is all the more palpable.


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