Ramadan Day 18 – Sketch About Memory

Now an electric force grabs my feet.

I see it has seized my host’s, too –

he is standing up, his hands are flopping

in front of him. “What is it?” I whisper.

“I’m washing the dishes,” he says.

“O my God,” I think.

“I’m washing the dishes,” he repeats.

I realize he is trying to get the cat to believe

he is not in a seizure but washing the dishes

If either of us lets on about the seizure

it is certain the cat will kill us both.

– excerpt from “The Cat,” written by Galway Kinnell



I memorized the exact color of yellow

the light of the koi pond hit it just so

the wallpaper glitter gold toast sun


also the goat eating the candy wrapper

Babette screaming on a red tricycle

Bustin’s round noggin bald and shiny



Even freeway signs rumble bulge and belch

driving the 110, i ask, where are my keys?


i’m certain i had a cat too, she was yellow

a tabby, and when she died, i was certain i’d

die too so now i’m partial to honey and cats


my excuse is i was young and not observant

so when my knee cricks, i shudder, i forget

there is such a thing as medicine


this year’s ramadan is a picture show

the user manual’s out, the projector rusted

oh to think i trained on microfiche


i’m inclined against my memory

it makes shapes of things i’m certain

were only feelings for being young


[i] I wanted to name this poem Meditation on Memory, but I was concerned that my audience would immediately become bored and fall asleep.

Oh, the endings we swim toward

without thinking!

Mysteries of mass wrong turns, sick leaders

and sirens forever sexy

land or sea.

The unequaled rush

and horror of forgetting


-Excerpt from “Notes on a Mass Stranding” written by Kamilah Aisha Moon in She Has a Name



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