The Wounded Beast of Autonomy

The Wounded Beast of Autonomy*

Hurled against the rocks of identity
The wounded beast of autonomy
Cries out
As it loses its grip

The reassuring shoreline
Battered and eroding
Never looked more forlorn,
A beacon of receding vistas

Blinding and lucid flashes
Assailed by surface gashes
Infused with the
Heat of uncertainty

A frightened little girl
Peaks from behind the mask
Of the wizened crone
And it is my task to convince her
She is not alone

—Robert Hieger
 October 23, 2013

* This poem is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, colleague and extended family member, Sallie Marx, who endured a long struggle with dementia. At the time of writing, I had just visited her in the hospital after she suffered a series of mini-strokes. Several days later, after a massive stroke, she entered hospice care, passing away in early November.

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