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Posts Tagged ‘memory’

Not the What but the How

 

 

 

Mostly, we forget.

Mostly, the singular moments

that felt so important—

remarkable, even—

slip like raindrops

into a pond.

 

Most of my life

is blur, is watercolor.

But let me clearly remember

tonight, dying my daughter’s

hair blue, singing along

to the radio, laughing

about nothing in particular.

 

What I want to remember

is how little it takes

to make a moment light up

from within, light up

like dew infused by the sun—

each moment a teacher,

our own home the temple.

 

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Forty years later, my brother and I

go to the Jewel to buy evaporated milk

and egg nog, and part of me doubts

I will remember the way that we scoured

the produce aisle for green beans. Then again,

who could say why I remember

with incredible clarity the moments

when I was ten and we had just finished

the great turkey feast and my brother and I,

as we loved to do, asked to be excused,

but instead of leaving the dining room,

we simply lay on the floor beneath the table

with our feet up on our chairs

and conversed with each other

there across the green and white shag.

I don’t recall what we said or what we wore,

and it was no important moment, but

I remember the feel of it:

I knew we were together in this—

this moment, this family, this life,

so much so that forty years later

the memory of these ten minutes

is as real to me as the scent of the pumpkin pie

my sister-in-law baked tonight.

How is it that such a short snippet of time

defines us? How it comes to be

the moment we return to again and again

to remind ourselves who we are,

who we love, and why we are here—

those moments, stolen, and still

they give us back ourselves. Even now

in the produce aisle of Jewel, I can feel it—

the carpet against my cheek, can smell

the cranberry salad, can hear my grandfather

and grandmother laughing over our heads,

my brother’s eyes widening, mischievous, so alive.

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One Scent Memory

 

 

 

scent of roasting pumpkins—

all day they carve

my thoughts

 

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One Week Later

 

 

 

There are moments I forget she is gone.

Perhaps when I am in the garden. Or painting

rocks. Or making dinner. And then I remember.

She’s gone. I cry less now, but still.

I cry. Of course. Because the cloth I use to wipe

my glass table. Because the vase I slip

marigolds into. Because the necklace

I am wearing. Because out of nowhere

the sound of her voice. Because

the book I am reading. Because

when I think of how much she loved me,

how much I loved her, I gasp and

my nose starts to tingle and my eyes

well, and I know she would tell me

not to cry, but I do. Because it’s a beautiful

and rare gift to love someone. Deeply. Because

she was my gift. Because I was hers.

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One Return

 

 

 

like a book

that always falls open

to my favorite lines—

 

this memory of your crooked smile,

your open hand

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for Amy Irvine

 

 

I didn’t know then we were lucky,

that day when we rode down the hill

on the sleds with our kids. They were cold

 

and crying and reluctant, and the hill

was small, and the thrill was mostly

missing. And I remember you saying,

 

“There will be a day we look back on this,

and think how easy we had it, how

silly we were to think this is hard.”

 

And I remember not quite believing you

as our children continued to scream and

whine, as we dragged them inside and

 

removed their soggy mittens and boots

and socks that had fallen around their arches,

as we made them hot chocolate and

 

talked in the kitchen about sleepless nights

and two-hour tantrums and the loss

of time to ourselves. How could I have known

 

that twelve years later, how sweet that looks,

how innocent, how fun, the kids banging

on the piano, their hands sticky, their faces bright.

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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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We are perhaps like neurons

that never touch—

but that doesn’t stop

the chemical buzz,

the lightning charge,

the electric thrill

that leaps the gap—

and in that span

all meaning is made,

long red ropes of memory

twisting and knotting,

braiding, unbraiding,

and nothing

is ever the same.

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One Bite of Finland

eating dark rye bread

the taste of joy

thirty years ago

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One Unforgettable

 

 

 

still trying to erase it,

that memory, though I threw out

the chalkboard long ago

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