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What You Can't Remember
Tell me, you say.
The smell outside when it had just started raining,
Wet concrete we raced on.
Nodding to whispers in the rain so quiet I couldn’t hear them,
With secrets exchanged in wet breaths.
Drinking cold over-brewed tea during the summer
With ice-cube trays cracked on the counter that woke up the dog,
Washcloths drying dishes that held cold chocolate cake
We ate watching the sunset.
The cartoons we saw in the clouds while scratching
At that rash I got from the weeds—
The bumps you soothed with cool white cream that night
Between episodes of My Super Sweet Sixteen.
You reading out loud from your econ textbook while I painted the kitchen yellow
Coco-cola breaks and orange Dorito-dust spilled on the perfect graphs,
And those magic tricks with the disappearing quarter
That I couldn’t figure out.
Googling zucchini-bread recipes, your fingers on my neck
And long games of Monopoly because you swore I’d changed the rules.
Making lanyards of purple and green and
The safety-pin pricking your knee.
Spring, that year, seeds planted by your old shovel in the garden that wasn’t just mine anymore.
Then Summer, with the splinter-filled picnic basket;
Fall reciting Greek between seminars,
Winter with that rain and muddy grass.
Why is it that you can only remember
Meals unfinished, bottles of expensive Zinfandel left
Half-empty in the fridge for weeks.
Telephone calls that weren’t made,
Our angry silences and
The anticipation of a one-word text,
A choice word, a** or b****.
Clothes returned in brown boxes, toothbrushes
And your Costco packages of green tea.
Why do you remember paint cans tipped over,
Red-pigment spilling on my shoes,
With your screams the only clash with the Learning Greek CD—
You remember “Why don’t I?” but I don’t remember “Why don’t you?”
All I remember
Is that we didn’t say goodbye.