this old year

is difficult to remember. It started as it will end, beneath Montpelier’s broad sky. In its piercing cold.

Snow on the ground. Ice in patches.

I go back to the journals – inconsistent, erratic – so that I can remember, but in those pages, I find only memories of years long past. And I wonder how much time I squander living in that liminal space between what was and what is.

I am trying to salvage what I can, chronologically.

On memory:

My father in a red plaid bathrobe. My father in a blue striped shirt. My father’s tie is too wide. My father’s pants are too short. My father sitting in a chair with the light dim. My father’s upturned palms. My father’s voice: little bunny. Hey, bunny.

On spring, its harbingers:

A specific type of unraveling.

On invocation:

Dear silence, dear distant star: Dear forgotten self. Dear lost. Dear unraveling. Dear coming undone. Dear darkest hour. Dear departed.

On dreaming:

Waking with the idea: A history. And lines from textbooks where * stands for something too terrible to remember.

The * stands for bullet-ridden. The * stands for devastated earth, the long wide trenches gouged in it.

On passing time:

There were wooded areas. I did not explore. I do not remember going into town for much. That one day, and to the cemetery. How I was supposed to want it more. We had a picnic in the cemetery. We ate banh-mi. The plums were hard and green. There were flies and mosquitos. It was hot. We stopped at a café for Italian sodas on the way back. I was afraid to waste too much time.

On being direct:

I want to tell you about of my life.
I want to tell you that I think of you. That I
remember you though we have not met.

I want to tell you that when I approached the shore
the water was cold and I let
the hems of my pants get wet.

The rocks were slick with moss.
When I say: I want to show you – when I say
I want to take you to the shore I know
that this is something we will never do.

On time, passing:

I feel the pressure of time. I feel like I am not working fast enough, and this has the paradoxical effect of immobilizing me.

On memory:

Sebald, from The Emigrants: “Memory, he added in a postscript, often strikes me as a kind of dumbness. It makes one’s head heavy and giddy, as if one were not looking back down the receding perspectives of time but rather down on the earth from a great height, from one of those towers whose tops are lost to view in the clouds.”