Posts Tagged ‘forgetting’


So lucky sometimes,
like today, to wake
and say to the world
I love you.
On these mornings,
almost impossible
to remember it is ever
any other way—
impossible to believe
I could wake and say
anything besides
thank you, I am grateful,
good morning blue sky,
good morning old limbs.

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Once I knew it by heart,

that song about leaving

the earth and traveling on,

but tonight, I just hum

through the verse I’ve forgotten,

grateful the tune still knows

how to find me, grateful

to still have lips, breath.

Grateful to be a traveler

here, my feet still finding

the road.

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In the bottom of my bottom drawer,

my swimming suit hides beneath t-shirts

and mini skirts, all of them wrinkled.

The bikini top strings are untied—

they snake around the dark space

like the sprouted eyes of potatoes.

All this waiting. Somewhere there is light.

The shape of the suit remembers

what it is like to hold things in

and keep things up. It remembers

the way the ocean waves tugged at its knots,

the gritty insistence of sand.

Outside, it is snowing again—

snow on the buds of the lilac tree,

snow on the first green of parsley.

Inside, there is this woman

who has stuffed things into dark corners.

I have nearly forgotten what it is

to be warm, warm enough

to wear next to nothing, warm enough

not to cover my heart with layer

after heavy layer. I am learning

how what is forgotten doesn’t really

go away. The shape of me

remembers how to pull my arms

through the water, how to tread

to stay on top. Outside, the sound

of the plow scrapes past. I am wondering

what else might be in that bottom drawer.

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In the book of spells

I do not find the one

that helps you forget

what you want

to forget. There is one

for making the bees

come out midwinter

and another to make

the walls speak what

they’ve seen. There’s

a spell for making

minutes go slower, and

a spell to turn a woman’s

skin green. But no spell

to forget what we wish

not to know. There are

thirty-one spells for

forgiveness, though.

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for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie, a V poem

If you forget why it’s good to be patient,
consider the Venus fly trap.
And ask the velociraptor
if you forget why it pays to run fast.

If you ever forget death’s a blessing,
ask the vulture who sits on the wire.
And if you forget how fast things change
ask volcanoes what they know of fire.

And vanilla, it will give you a taste
if you forget it’s a gift to be plain.
The viper can help you remember
to respect anything that has fangs.

If you forget aging is sweet,
ask the vineyard about harvest time.
If you forget aging is painful,
the Victrola can tell you sometime.

If you forget that every touch matters,
ask the violin how it makes sound.
If you forget how to love the darkness
ask the vole why he lives underground.

There is no shame in forgetting.
It’s a matter of gracious surrender
and learning to ask the world to help us
(even if we don’t want to) remember.

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all day as I walk
I practice the art
of forgetting—
which means all day I remember
what I wish to forget


that rock
I’ve been carrying—
every time I put it down
I find it again
in my other pocket


these thoughts
wear the strangest shoes—
no heel, no toe,
trying to track them
I see they go both ways at once


caught in a tunnel
with a fire at both ends—
now would be
a perfect time
to learn to dig


in the end
there is no rock, no shoes,
no tunnel no fire—
there is only the art
of loving the one who remembers

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