Melody notices forget-me-not
because her mother loved it.
Pale knot, a name I’ve forgotten
until Melody brings it back.
Memory survives not in our brains
but in time, ever present, future, & past.
One midnight I wake next to a stranger,
lie cautious & listening, knowing
the drug’s drone, the body’s ache.
Next shot, I collect T-shirt & jeans,
tiptoe between men on coil-shot couches.
Pan to a streetlight @ Otis & Pearl,
panhandle a dime for the phone.
A long time ago
doesn’t mean it’s harder to remember.
What’s found on the stoop of an orphanage
marks the soul’s handoff
from one tired body to a fresh one,
or not tired, merely surprised.
The child asks, “What happens
at a funeral? What goes in the hole?”
& after, “I didn’t know about coffins.
I thought the dirt fell in the dead person’s eyes.”
“I was 30,” says Melody, “when my mother died.”
Because she doesn’t touch the flower
I touch it for her.
The pattern on a turtle’s shell
remembers every other, yet each is unique,
a life shell grown inside a birth shell
from memory all turtles share.
I don’t tell her
how carefully we close the body’s eyes.