Forgetting to Remember

Inspired by "Forgetfulness" by Billy Collins

The page number is the first to go
followed closely by the questions, the topic,
the due date, and suddenly it is as if your teacher never assigned it,
you missed that class,

one by one, the memories you used to hold
decide to head south for the long winter,
retreating to a little house in the Florida Keys.

Long ago you said goodbye to the names of the twelve Greek deities
and looked on as all those important math formulas packed their bags,
and even now as you memorize the periodic table,

something else is leaving your mind, the 2005 Red Sox lineup perhaps,
your cousin’s phone number, the capital of Argentina.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not waiting to fly off the tip of your tongue,
not even hiding in a dark corner of your memory.

It has long ago taken a trip down a dark river,
whose name begins with a vowel as far as you can recall,
well on your way to being absolutely lost where you will gather with those
who have even forgotten how to tie their shoes and shoot a basketball.

No wonder you wake up frazzled in the middle of the night
to look up the name of the man who starred in that movie you just saw.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love story you once knew word for word.

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