I have no idea where that memory went.
It’s somewhere in the attic. Often at night
I hear it scampering around on mousy feet.
But when I run upstairs to look, all is quiet.
Maybe it was a bad memory, so I hid it.
Maybe a good one I just took for granted,
as we do with those who love us most—
and it’s getting back at me by playing coy.
I keep far too much up there—do you,
in yours?—boxes on top of boxes. Stuff
gets lost. Which implies we don’t need it,
but who knows what we’ll need someday?
We need memories. They are the letters
of our names. I’ll catch up to that rascal
in my attic, my missing letter. Perhaps if
I ignore it, it will tiptoe down to see why.
Jed says when he visits Melanie, his wife
in the Alzheimer’s unit, she tells him how
her husband never visits. Jed is a good
listener. Melanie has emptied her attic.
Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. Recent work appears in Poem, Main Street Rag, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.