Posts Tagged ‘memory’




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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The heron flies away

and its great blue wings

touch the surface of the water.

For a time, after the heron

is gone, the twin concentric wrinkles remain.

If you leaned far enough, you could

see your reflection in ripples,

your image warped by the memory

of flight. The water

returns to its stillness,

your face again your familiar face—

but that is not the way

with all memories.

Sometimes, we

never see ourselves

the same again.

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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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One Return




calling me collect,

that bum of a memory

I kicked out years ago

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November 26




No one will remember that this is the day

that my son and I stayed home

and he watched movies and I

met deadlines for work. It was the day

that I didn’t finish drying the apples,

the day I didn’t listen to a single song,

the day no snow fell in the yard.

It was, however, the anniversary

of Howard Carter opening Tutankhamun’s

tomb in Egypt, still virtually intact.

It’s still a few months from the day

he’ll discover the inner burial chamber—

for now, he is still ablaze with the thrill

of beginning, hopeful he’ll find

the sarcophagus. Does he know yet

that it will be made of solid gold?

The world is ripe with beginnings—

even in this season of dying and cold,

there’s always so much left to discover,

so much we do not yet know.

Eventually the movies are over and I finish

my article about Tuscan architecture

and my son and I again begin. No one will

ever remember how this is the day

we spent hours together at a table

with a puzzle fitting the thousand pieces in.

But I am still ablaze with beginning,

still in the thrill of his youth. I don’t yet know

where our lives will go, but I’m giddy

on laughter that only we two can hear,

the rest of the house quiet, no bells,

no shouts, no hum of the fruit as it dries.



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Somewhere in the 100 billion cells

of my brain is the memory

of the playground in second grade

when Jenny told me birds could fly

because their bones were hollow,

and, she reasoned, if we could lose

enough weight, we, too,

could have hollow bones, and we, too

could fly.


Surely linked to that memory

are thousands of other neurons

that disprove her claim—

neurons related to air pressure, thrust,

strong breast muscles, osteoporosis—

but there is, perhaps,

still one cell in there somewhere

across the synaptic gap,

that lights up at the memory

of Jenny’s suggestion

as if to say,

wow, that’s cool,

let’s try it.












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Dear Rachel




It’s so curious what we choose to frame.

You could, I am sure, with your art degree, explain

to me how aesthetics change. And why.

But I have too much dirt and dust in my home

to want an image of dirt and dust on my wall.

And I don’t relate to women in gowns

parting floral drifts with a white parasol.


I remember the first time I went to your home

and saw in your hall a painting—just one color, red,

you had painted it yourself—and I recall

how easy I found it to stare and stare and get lost

inside. So much of the world is black and white.


On my walls, it’s mostly nudes.

It never seemed strange until my children

asked why there were so many naked women

in our home. I didn’t know what to say

to make it okay. I said, “Because they are beautiful.”


If I could, I would frame the laughter

you left on my answering machine

and hang that on my wall. Or frame

how warm the sun was when we went for a walk.

Or frame the taste of peaches, the scent

of wood smoke and poems in our hair, the easy

silence we sometimes share.


But I would frame, too, the mornings

we speak of our children and weep.

And I’d frame our hurt and our fear

and the nights we’ve fallen apart.

So perhaps that’s not so different

from framing dust and dirt. And those

two women strolling in the sun,

on second thought, they look familiar.


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