On the Way Out of the Memory Palace
I heard a definition once: Happiness is health and a short memory!”
Didn’t Hannah Arendt write a book about forgetting, or was that dozens of books written by Freud? A mother claims, “I can’t remember anything from those years I was married to your father.” This covers the entire time the daughter lived at home, plus a couple of years of college. The daughter’s memory is a cove, where unexpected fragments of a school play wash up against a burnt tabletop. They have pills for that nowadays, the mother tells her. The daughter remembers the pink birth control pills the mother kept losing, and the little helpers that drove the mother’s huddled naps on the couch after work. “Who can rest without a little friendly assistance?” Now the mother is getting old and must circumnavigate language. The daughter is addicted to the crossword puzzle, with its little jolts of remembered trivia.
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss “The Big Bang of Prose Poetry,” Carol Dorf’s introduction to prose poetry in TW.
Carol Dorf is the poetry editor at Talking Writing.
“Time and space, what more is there to complain about, though a higher intellect would critique rather than settle for this whine. In a just world, you could flip time end over end, until you reached the place where you actually belonged.” — “Library Hours”