The Burning Door
Does memory function as a way to gather meaning
from the inchoate past, as a means of asserting
a certain presence in the world at a specific moment, something
real in this vastness of solid nothings floating by
as though we somehow mattered in some
small way? Or do we just memorize a song
and sing that small song in harmony with other singers
we can’t even hear? That’s how we stay alive.
I might sing a song about drinking the whole ocean,
fish and all, whales and all the dolphins too, and I might
remember the taste of that salt, of those tides
that carried me away even as I gulped and swallowed.
I might remember floating, just drifting away
like the tide. Remember: we were jellyfish and loved
the way the water flowed and rocked, the sense that our dreaming
made that flow and rock. The ocean inside
is full of jellyfish, the kind that don’t sting
and the kind that sometimes do. If I’d known I’d taste like salt
after I’d dried up. I was doing all I could
to turn as white as emptiness. Forever. You can taste me now.
Michael Hettich | Mudlark No. 40 (2010)
Contents | The Burning Door VII