Saturday 6 June 2020

'Anomic Aphasia (or All The Words I Used To Know)' by Elaine Mead

We found it funny at first. You knit your eyebrows together in amusement as I describe the large white block,

    the placid rectangle,

        the cold cupboard in the kitchen.

You mean, the fridge? Your eyes twinkled. I made a joke to mask the embarrassment.

The list of lost words grew without discrimination. I took my favourite ones and tried to bury them deep, hoping they would be safe. It didn’t work. When I forgot your mum’s name the amusement quickened to concern.

When I forgot your name the concern became


I began to grow fearful. If you forget the word do you forget its meaning too? Like fear. Or love. What does it become without the right word? Your face still made me tingle but I no longer had a label for it. I knew who you were and what that meant but there were ever-encroaching gaps.

The diagnosis informs us I shouldn’t forget names and the concern becomes anger. You shout your name at me across the distance between your brain and mine. I try but I can’t make it stick anymore. You say I am being deliberate. I smile apologetically.

One     day     you     stop     shouting.

    You     whisper     another     word.

        A name.

The significance of your key on the side table should have moved me.

But that word had left me


'Anomic Aphasia (Or All The Words I Used To Know)' was previously published online by the Writers HQ Flash Competition, 2019.

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