I remember none of my mother’s clothes
except, from years ago, a red coat.
Is that all that’s left of those
we love—a memory, a lump in the throat
when we see a certain color, or a smell
wafts to us on the random air?
I stood in a closet, unable to tell
time or say my own name, my hair
brushed by the folds of her clothes.
Some object will separate itself
from last year’s losses, I suppose,
and ten years in the future engulf
an ordinary day with ancient pain.
The birdfeeder we gathered around
at dusk, perhaps, when the nearly tame
gray squirrels scrabbled to the ground
down a tree-trunk. Or, more likely,
it will be some object long forgotten,
its dumb, accusing presence near me
when I’m almost healed, or have been
happy during a winter afternoon.
Sometimes I long, terribly, to have no
memory. I'd wake in the soon-
to-be-day gray-blue light like so
many other days and not be pierced
by these fragments from the past.
No more of this—sitting immersed
in sorrow, and tasting dust.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 6 Number 10, on page 62
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