Happy New Year! I’m grateful for the excitement that each new year brings. New Year’s Day always leads my mind to a place of reflection. As I enjoy the memory-inspired “Tree Series” by Katy Oxborrow, I am struck by the the different ways that trees process memory. This poem questions the purpose of memory for humankind.
What Are Memories For?
Memories keep water spots
from forming on our future schemes,
coasters for our wet dreams.
Logs for the fire inside us,
we shovel memories on the flame
to destroy the recurring arthritic pain.
Memories grow slowly,
toxic tile mold,
clinging to the shower stalls of our souls.
tumors that snowball in size;
we never feel them materialize.
Some memories stand out like
strands of silver hair.
Cover them up, but they shed on our chairs.
Memories age slowly and diversely,
a wine list being grown
for the next milestone.
Memories are a self-massaging chair,
stroking our egos
with fingers that aren’t there.
Memory buzzes past our noses
like a cloud of noisy flies,
growing fat on the crumbs of our highs.
A lousy private detective,
memory gives us clues
to the missing person, we all lose.
Some memories dissolve,
Alka Seltzer tabs,
fizzing in mercy to relieve our scabs.
Some memories clash–
a duel in our brain.
Try to determine which version is sane.
a foam mattress in the mail,
bending to movement, cradling with air.
Side-step some memories,
they serve as tripwires,
easily starting electrical fires.
The feast of our memories,
what is it for?
A bed, a beast, a private back door.
Clean memories are hard to ignore.
In the home of our lives,
memory forms floor.