It is want
and memory that
drive my hand. I had a
I’d like to get it back.
My friends know not to mention
the straws. If they find one on their apartment floor,
they merely pick it up,
hand it back or save it for me.
later when I greet them with a hug, they point to the basket on the end table in case I forgot one or dropped it on the walk over.
I fish a blue one out of my jeans and we begin the catch up.
and they know not to mention it if I eat something with eggs in it and then return to my scrupulous investigation of ingredients at restaurants. this is normal deviation from my ethics out of either convenience or fatigue. they know not to mention my tears when they ask how my father is or to try to embrace me while I’m crying.
I need the floor to crawl around on, not the bundle. not the restriction that touch bares. let me sit in silence and twist the plastic in my fingers like a baby blanket. Let me be the neglected child in your foyer. let me finish screeching. there is no bottle.
they sit and wait for me to finish, watching my hand reach in want, in memory of the way the sun hit my shoulders one day. but more than that, it’s the way I told my mom I didn’t want to keep Pepper’s dog brush and now cry in therapy, remembering how she laid in my bed every time I went away for more than a day or met me at the bus stop or came to my room, busting open the door. The guilt of turning twelve and denying her attention, suddenly self obsessed, hiding in my room and saying “Go, Pepper.”. I said, “I should have kept the fucking dog brush” and I turn away, embarrassed at this sudden admittance of remorse over something so menial, or how attached I am to animals, something childish about grieving your dog or sleeping with your cats every night. something childish in attachment to pets and things and memory. I spent days of my life watching the metal touch the black fur and I hate myself so much all I think about is the times I turned her away. it’s the same poem.
i’ve heard it said before and I have yet to be proven wrong: it’s the same poem. it’s always the same poem. and people say not to live in the past so I burned all the pictures. it’s the same poem. the way we try to get our memories back. the way I insist we throw everything out, it’s always the same poem. the way our garage fell in on itself and took all of our grade school memories, the large painting of my mother, every single collected Christmas decoration since my brother was born, my yearbooks. it’s the same fucking poem, I should have kept the dog brush.
my childhood cat lived to be 21 and rubbed her face against my face when I visited her. I believed she had lost some feeling in other places. she loved being outside, you couldn’t keep her in. by the end, she was so skinny and her fur had fallen out. but she was loved at 21. her name was Fancy. I named her after Fancy Feast when I was five and I loved her even though she scratched my best friend every time she visited and sometimes hissed and sometimes attacked my ankles. someone called animal control on her and they stole her from my front yard to put her down. she would have lived another year of rubbing my face every time I came home. it was the way she felt me, remembered the five year old that named her. I remember everything:
the way she sat for hours on the dining room table to watch candles dance, sat in wrapping paper, shoeboxes, laid in the street yet always had the sense to move when cars drove down the court. how she slept at the foot of my bed for years on repeat.how my dad said she was in his van once and he had to turn around to drop her off back home on his way to work. sneaking through an open window, she was crouched in the back. the same thing happened to my partner when he left his windows open. and I told my mom she could throw the dog brush away as I had no dog now, it had no use, it’s the same poem. grief; I remember everything.
you write until there’s nothing left to mull over, to pluck out or inspect. util your hereditary dementia begins, until there’s nothing left to burn or steal from someone’s front yard to put down like it was yours to take. like she wouldn’t have lived another year of greeting me, my secret wish I say to pets out loud: I hope you live forever and I squeeze their neck and
I remember everything.
“Grief pt 3”