Dementia by Ruth Thompson

Pythia sits at the edge. Her skin is wrinkled. She has been here a long time. Or maybe not.

She laps at the milk. She is an alphabet, patchy with shed skin, and the arches of her feet sing. Or the cave of her mouth, its tiny fangs.

The smoke speaks to her, dancing from the hole. Huffing and puffing, huffing and puffing. It will draw her house down.

Down and down comes the house of her head, tiny fangs hanging like tears. Her body alphabets what the smoke says.

She drinks the milk. She tells messages to the men outside, but Pythia is demented and no one can read her.



Ruth Thompson is the author of Woman With Crows (2013) and Here Along Cazenovia Creek (2011). She lives in Hilo, Hawai’i, where she has collaborated in performing her poems with celebrated dancer Shizuno Nasu. She teaches meditation, yoga, and writing workshops throughout the US, and blogs about happiness at