Thursday, July 27, 2017

Before memory


  Most of parts i and ii were excised from “What comes after.” I realized they didn’t really add anything to that poem, but could possibly become a poem of their own. And they did.

Before memory


     i

Do you remember your first thought,
 your first sight? Do you remember
                                 becoming?

  Can you call back the first time
     I picked you up in my arms
         and touched the pink new
             leaves of your fingers?

                     Probably not.

       These are my moments,
   memories I will forever cherish.

          Yet, you were here.
                  You existed.

      Your life already was. Life,
                          already beyond
        your powers of memory. You,
                             already beyond
                the touch of recall.


     ii

  There are many more moments
        I have the privilege
               of holding in mind,
                                     such as

          the first time you stood
    wobbling over your own two feet,
      your first three shaky steps,
         the very first time you rolled
             onto your back, and
                   even your first word,

                              "Light."

      You may not remember
             any of it. Still,
                 you were there—
       you existed, lived, laughed
                                and flourished.
  Your heart raced behind your ribs
                          like a rabbit's.
                Lightning arced
     through the plasma in your veins
              and kindled the presence
                               in your eyes.


     iii

   One day you will think back
         to your first fuzzy memories,
              maybe a yellow slide
         at the nearby playground,
              or the orange hue
       of cottonwoods turning
    toward winter, or perhaps
singing standards with Lola.

You may find yourself wondering
           where you were before
     blue swings and spiral slides,
        before autumn scents
   and colors, before old songs
     with loving grandparents,
before drifting down from the stars
                 into mother’s womb.

  All I can say is that you were
     here before you remember
                                          being,
   and that all my life
            I sensed you were there,
    long before you were here.

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