The Dot Matrix

Dottie is crazy.
Was.
Dottie was crazy.
Her paranoia
and confusion over the most basic things
made conversations most exhausting.
She didn’t want the neighbors to know
she was in the hospital
because they might talk about it
and… care about her?

Dottie survived her husband
and all three of her sons
the youngest of whom died
at forty.
She had grandchildren
but they never visited.

Dottie was a pack rat.
Dottie was a hoarder.
Dottie didn’t invite her relatives over
or friends.
I lived beneath her
for fifteen years
and only saw her apartment last year
when I brought her home from the hospital.

Dottie was the queen of the block
which is industrial
and has but a handful of occupants.
She asked after everyone
and knew most people’s stories
most of which she told wrong.
She didn’t want people to talk about her
but she talked about everybody else.

Dottie got my name wrong
for several years.
I put my name up
in front of my door
in front of my mail box
and she saw it on my mail
which she sorted through
on a daily basis
but for a while
she called me Josh
which somehow transformed to Jos’,
which I don’t even think is a name.
I can’t comprehend the mental gymnastics
she completed to lose my name
and then eventually find it again.

I didn’t understand her
much at all.
After all,
Dottie was crazy.
Is crazy.
Is.

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