Thursday Evening

Her evenings were spent
not shuttling her child
to practice or lessons
or herself to the next job
but eating a home-cooked dinner
prepared by her husband,
watching “Wheel of Fortune,”
reading and singing to her daughter
and asking her the questions
only she could answer
but could not,
for her little girl
was a brightly-colored door
with a panel of frosted glass
that was shatter-proof
and a lock that was foolproof.
Sometimes this mom went to an event,
and sometimes she made it to the Y,
for she believed in getting your money’s worth
out of a gym membership,
not a buffet.
She was an anxious person,
understanding that just as some drank
to silence the voices,
she sometimes had to take a pill
to silence the stories–
a temporary solution to
“Writers’ Flow.”
She tried to remember to tell Jesus
to let her mom know she said, “Hi,”
but sometimes she forgot–
just as she forgot if she shampooed her hair
until she squeezed the green gel
known as Prell
into her hand
and her muscle memory kicked in.
She’d put the clothes in the dryer
and forget to turn it on,
take something out of the oven
and forget to turn it off.
She’d try to tamp down her anxiety
when having to watch a movie
without closed-captioning,
feeling mentally exhausted
trying to piece together
what she did hear.
Maybe being able to see the words
was why she had become a writer
and why,
when the hustle-bustle of the day
died down
and her little girl had been put down
for the night,
she could lose herself in all the words
she could not see.

Seeking the Lost

They are the tools I use to get away from it all—
my car keys with the Lucky Strikes chain,
and they are missing again.

It is my connection in case of emergency.
It is my cell,
and it is misplaced, as well.

It is my help in times of forgetfulness—
my rock made of paper.
It is my day planner.

It is the commander of my hands.
It is my mind,
and it is forgetful sometimes.

I seek the lost everyday,
for I am every bit as lost as they.

That Fuzzy Gray Area Called Memory

Remember when I was born and you were so happy?
I remember when you were born.

Remember your first day of school and you were so excited?
I remember being excited about leaving.

Remember when you were trying out for baseball and how hot it was?
I remember it being hot all the time.

Remember when you ate that hot dog and threw up all over Grandpa?
I remember throwing up all over Grandpa,
and not being able to eat hot dogs for a whole year.

Remember when you blew a bubble and got gum all in your hair?
I remember Mom crying while she shaved my head that time.
Are you sure it wasn’t a lollipop?

Remember when you graduated from high school and you were kind of sad?
I just remember being happy.

Remember when you went off to college and Mom was sad?
I remember being scared.

Remember when you met Anne and it was not quite love at first sight?
I’ve always loved Anne.

Remember your wedding day, and you were so nervous?
She was the one who was nervous.

Remember when you almost fainted while Marie was being born?
Guys don’t faint.

And the moral of this prose is simple:
This is why perfectly true memoirs are impossible to write.

The Memory Thief

I sit down in the break room,
seven-and-a-half months along,
having just worked my eightieth hour.
I gaze up at the clock,
stark in black and white,
numbers in a circle,
not in a line.
It starts to jump back and forth,
spinning 50,000 shades of grey.
I am dizzy, rooted to the chair;
something is wrong.
I have no thirst,
not even an ounce an hour, I desire.
A girl I know comes in and asks, “What’s the matter?”
“I feel like I’m on a carousel,” I say,
and she asks who she can call,
but I left my cell at home.
I just moved,
I cannot remember my husband’s number,
I cannot remember my mother’s—
I cannot remember at all.
All my information,
my life,
is in that little device.
I’ve lost the ability to recollect.
My mind isn’t Google,
but a scramble–
fragmented and frayed,
the simplest things forgotten.
I did not use my memory,
and lost it when I needed it most.