» Poetry

Relative Risk

—A Golden Shovel after Katie Englehart’s “We Are Going to Keep You Safe Even if It Kills Your Spirit,” The New York Times, Feb. 19, 2021


No matter what the therapists say about dementia, how we
should know our half-blind mother can’t live alone, how they are
clear she can’t afford to fall—the only way to keep her going
on her own (not risk-free) is a scooter or a four-wheel walker, or to
move her to a place, they won’t say where—best to keep
the care type vague—helpful doctors will tell you
recommended choices: memory pills, life locked inside, a safe
space, always a mask, no rugs or dancing, hugs, even
if your loved one, if Mom, is vaccinated, if
we instead allow her finger-walking walls, her wandering, it
wouldn’t be the worst to drop and die at home, we’ll say—what kills
is a voice silenced or a vision atrophied, when all your
good intention stymies dignity, what we recall of spirit.



Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey is a graduate of the Florida State University creative writing program. Her first published poem appeared in 1981 in The Florida Review. Sarah's work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Five Points, Zone 3, SWWIM Every Day, Split Rock Review, Atlanta Review, Grist, and elsewhere. Her book reviews have appeared recently or are pending in Salamander, EcoTheo Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and the Los Angeles Review. Sarah's poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Orison Anthology. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, The Heart Contracts (2016, Finishing Line Press) and Accommodations (2019), winner of the Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award. Visit her at SarahKCarey.com or on Twitter @SayCarey1.