I found you where we were children, and you found a way to bend a certain recipe toward the collection crowding my pockets, slowing my chase. In surrender, I removed the lot of it in pieces and placed each on the table. Tell me, love, I asked you. What is it?
You took a stamp and sewed it to your shirt, held a button to your reflection, and the shard of a mirror you pressed into an album to save the memory of someone looking back. We chased to catch ourselves back to running from what teased our terrors, tempting catch me! and you can’t!
I feared the years would fell me first, but you did, and from the rest of what is saved if you wait I can still make you a meal and we will raise a glass to the hour of these signs, from this shelter of broken time.
A lit match in the dark and a family museum in flames. Removed of these objects to ground us, we start slipping from our assigned roles. Without the grain of a dated photograph, who will draw the borders between what happened half a century ago and what is in our midst, right now? At a certain age, it doesn’t matter; it’s all here again.
As the veil thins, she sees. The past was always right here, but it was too much for us to hold and still go on with the living. She’s releasing the burden now, and vision returns. Time to call the names of the ones no longer here and be moved by the volume of their answers.
In the end, we become our grandmothers, caring for our mothers, forgetting who is who as we walk in and out of one another’s dreams. Now, with the smoke in our eyes, we are singing.
Inspired by consideration of this announcement of Rea Tajiri’s film Wisdom Gone Wild, exploring themes of collective memory.