The Paris Review

Poetry Rx: You All Have Lied

In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Claire Schwartz is on the line.

Original illustration by Ellis Rosen.

Dear Poets, 

I feel like I’m living in a world of decay right now. My mother and both of her brothers are dying of Huntington’s disease, which slowly kills your mind and body over a decade or so (think ALS + Parkinson’s + Alzheimer’s + extra mood/psychological challenges). My other mother has cognitive challenges that are making it hard for her to manage their care, and she seems to be worsening. As a twenty-six-year-old, I certainly am capable of taking on responsibility, but I often find myself feeling like a scared, lost child.

I’ve moved back home to New Orleans to help, but I struggle to

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