Holding Fast

The incredibly talented Grace Zhang has been giving us shivers with her spoken word poetry all year. She was kind enough to let us post her work here today- if you get the chance, please go watch her in person!


Holding fast

 [For my Grandmother]

we don’t talk much these days

(which is mostly my fault, I know)

but if we were on the phone

right now,

I’d tell you how

when we sat in lecture learning about

tests like MOCA, and MMSE

that at the time, I could not see

the connection between

drawing a clock showing 11:10

and having a grandmother

who might no longer recognize me.

I don’t think I really understood medicine then.

and I still struggle to explain

how the brain that housed

such selfless resilience,

that your brilliance,

could be compromised

by mutant tau proteins

and amyloid plaques –

a ruthless attack

and though you may try to battle back

to even the score –

it always wins the war.

but can I just say

that even as age chipped away

at your mind

there was never a time

where I would think of you

and see anything but strength;

you were so stubborn,

that it nearly drove us crazy,

but come hell or high seas

you were hell-bent on holding fast

to your identity.

so call me naïve, but

I have this overwhelming belief

that even on the day you wake up

and no longer recall

who you are

that you will still somehow

be standing tall

holding fast

to who you are.

(and I am so sure of this because I will be holding fast to who you have helped me become.)


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