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Fade and Out
by Sheryl Sirotnik

Is this what it's like?
Memories you could recite
Like the rosary,
The name of every
Man you had sex with,
The name of your boss at
That last dismal job that
Catapulted you back to college.
The teachers you loved
And those you hated
All hover dimly,
A ghost world
Just beyond your reach.

I've heard your aging brain
Holds, like the light
From a far star, the
Long ago memories.
That if a probe
Is properly inserted
Each part when touched
Will spill the details
As if it were that yesterday.

You ache to the possibility
To be in that long ago room,
On a street whose name you no
Longer remember,
To really see your children,
Their faces now given over
To fading photos.
To mine the details of
Your everyday life,
Stored like a vast cloud
Of forgotten data,
Jokes your long dead father
Told at the dining room table.
You remember that he told them
But not why they made you laugh.

What if you could travel to all
those stored, trapped details
The particulars that
Make a life well lived
Make a poem alive.
And what if that probe could
Extract tiny memory flakes?
You could collect them,
Put them in the locket
That was your grandmother's,
And wait for tears
to bring them back.


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