Residue - Poem by Morgan Michaels
It is said that the Old
forget their childhoods
forget their neighborhoods
and the cities they were born in
so old do they become.
NO, IT WAS YESTERDAY;
what cars they went to prom in
who they took- if anybody, that is,
what boy, what girl they thought was hot
so long ago it all was-
They forget their parents faces
their brothers' their sisters'-
all, or some, of their childrens'
faces'- that is, if they have any.
They do not forget the faceless
TV line-up, Friday night, age ten;
the fresh-from-the-bath smell, the
darling clamber into bed,
or the snugly-booted sense;
The sound of the fenestrated
speaker, fallen from the car window
hitting the ground with a clunk
the car parked among palisades of others
at the drive-in; those
anonymous shifting profiles in front
they needed to stare past;
Or what song headed the top ten
during which month, when they were twenty-one;
and vaguely remember speeding down a highway,
somewhere, quite late,
the convertible-top down:
such things are indelible.
Or, before that, squeezing chocolaty
cum from the captured locust's mouth
that hinged open several ways;
how its foot-hooks dug the skin;
or the way its wings clicked and whirred
atomically, as it fled among the tares.
IT WAS YESTERDAY
IT WAS YESTERDAY
NO, IT WAS YESTERDAY!
All taken and mistaken
given and mis-given
half let out, half in-gathered.
What becomes of a life
that has forgotten so much?
What is its residue.
Does it matter if a match, stricken,
ends in burnt fingertips
or strikes a conflagration?
Strikes a conflagration
or ends in burnt fingertips?
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