For the friend who visits me yesterday,
this is the neighborhood of the past: she
lived here as a child, then again as young
mother of a young child, her marriage ended,
alone in her twenties. The streets we walk
together are shadowed for her, overlaid with
her memories. She tells her stories of that time
carefully, disclosing facets as if unwrapping
a solid object held, preserved.
Last night I dream I’m negotiating Boston
subways, not sure where I want to go, trying
to buy a ticket while answering the questions
of a woman who stops me, a stranger who
tells me she’s lost her memory. How has my
new friend kept hers, kept past moments
from dissolving, disintegrating?
When I think of touching the past it runs
through my fingers, water. How much of
what we remember is a reality we invent,
come to believe is actual? A stone, a solid
object; a moving current, stream: each is
real, unreal as evening’s attenuated light,
leashed, holding against the dark.
Linden Avenue Literary Journal