She forgets who was with her
And who was not; the memories
Are folded over, faded, nearly torn,
Worn and finger smeared,
Like napkins carried and forgotten
Pressed and pretzeled
At the bottom of a bag;
She forgets what was real
And what was not.
She sees herself at twenty,
Lithe and rounded,
Naïve and confident,
The force of take-off
As the plane left New York
Hears Tiny Dancer echoing
Up into the stratosphere
Sees herself surrounded, uplifted
By long-haired rockers and gimlet-eyed youth.
She sees herself at twenty-five
Wandering Sixth Street
A Quebecois by her side
The furious sun and its open sky
Painted with a Gothic hue, a curmudgeonly,
Philosophical tint, as her companion
Mutters loudly at Guero’s and
Raises a satirical eyebrow at the doped-up
Student serving soft-scoop at Amy’s.
She sees herself at thirty
Under a familiar awning, breathing
In the dust, shifting under bright
Malice and the implacable hatred
Of the black-coated Calvinists
Arrayed to her left and right,
Rustling their gloomy Victorian skirts.
She sees herself somewhere in between
Deep in hills she can no longer name
A song being sung and blue eyes
Just waiting to hate her, brittle
Arms tensed as she walked away.
She sees herself: but she forgets
What was real and what was not,
What was only dreamed and
What was only lived and
What was mostly the finespun
Threads of both: now stained,
Smudged; she forgets.