A poor memory eliminates medical school,
prevents me from recalling which son eats pistachios
and hates tomatoes, which wants shrimp but is allergic to peach fur.
The stepdaughter despises anything I put a hand to, so
that’s easy. My thoughts are fleeting. How pretty
that sounds. Meditating, one means to watch thoughts rise
and pass away. Not the trick for me it might be for others.
The notion of volatile memory is a great comfort. A boiling core
that ignites whatever idles into it, a scalded plain
rubbled with plunder. It is the restive dune
of data I don’t retain; what I might wish to further
denigrate as the coffee grounds of ordinary minds or
the broken glass in a bag of garbage. And sly. New peaks,
new slopes, shifting weight that mummifies those arms
of reach, ladder-scrambling legs. In the dim of deep memory’s hall
entire worlds sit up in bed to flash signals: odor of smashed
pumpkin, of skunk, first rain on asphalt, a grandmother who chants
nevermind, nevermind. The kitchen table’s beveled edge.
A dragging witch costume trailed up Halloween’s
steep sidewalk, preceded by nightmare: hunkered trolls
spittle chants through their beards, hurl again and again
tiny pickaxes into the walls of a mine. When what is forgotten
revives, how to recognize, blinking in new light, these unspent lives
which surface, bitter as stillbirth? Out of each unnamed foreboding
another algid step-stone risen in the marsh.
l.a.seidensticker lives in northern California’s Sonoma County, a few fortunate miles off-road. With her husband she is a partner in a veterinary practice and a small vineyard.