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  • Route 7 Review

Travis Park—Alarm Bells

My mom calls me and says she forgot how to use the remote and is beyond frustrated because

she can’t watch her favorite weekly show. This call seems unusual but at the same time isn’t

out of the realm of possibilities. We struggle through the process and end in victory. I try calling

my mom the next week and she answers. She says she tried to call me earlier but couldn’t

remember how. I know she’s getting older but this doesn’t seem right. At 64 has dementia

already set in? I go to visit her, and she seems pleasant, but when I ask her my birthday, she

says she can’t remember. Something is wrong.

I take her to the doctor. He asks if there’s been carbon monoxide poisoning. Not to our

knowledge, and then he says a prayer for her and tells her to go to the hospital and get a CAT

scan. We go, and immediately they think she had a stroke. They do some tests and say we

have good and bad news. The good news is she didn’t have a stroke, the bad news is we

found a brain tumor. Not only is this a brain tumor, it’s cancerous, glioblastoma. A particularly

aggressive cancer. The doctor says she could live maybe a year if we do a craniotomy right


After the surgery things appear better, until they don’t. Within 3 months she’s on home hospice.

She’s forgotten who I am, who she is and withered into this person I don’t recognize. I’m sitting

at her bedside eating a taco and take a picture of a hummingbird that was drinking from her

bird feeder. A few moments later, mom takes her last breath. I say to her boyfriend, I think she’s

dead. The nurse comes in and says, "Look at her face, it looks like she’s smiling."

Travis Park

Travis Park is an emerging poet from a disadvantaged background. Their poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Their work was recently included in the Indiana Art Commissions InVerse Archive. You can see more of their poems on Instagram @travisparkpoetry.


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