Memory

by Lisa Megraw
Wild Poetry Forum
Second Place, December 2015
Judged by Barbara Siegel Carlson


Yesterday l pressed open the wings of a starling
and found amongst the hem of its feathers the loosest notes

of my history, shadow torn as if tattered by the wind.
Webs spooled over hedgerows. My grandmother’s coat

buttoned against the wind as l gathered pine cones, armfuls
of fern. A flight of sparrows following a path of light

through the thicket as the days shuffled, rearranged themselves,
and the metallic tang of moss and bark struck almost like a match

across the tongue, but not quite, because loss is like that,
incomplete, legs itching to move but with nowhere to go.

School shoes closed like caves for the body to fall into.
Because isn’t memory a coalescence of only a fist

full of moments like a glass of water at my grandfather’s bed
that moved against the arc of the sun then shattered;

the flowers inside his chest breaking
one by one as he coughed over their blossoms.

And the wind shaken by the branches outside
riding up over the lane like the crest of a wave to bury

us to our knees because isn’t the act of loss more like a gravity
that can take you over. The heart of a starling burning

through your chest.


Such startling, evocative imagery. The poem develops in a surreal manner revealing its truth about the nature of memory and sense of loss in a way that is both haunting and moving. --Barbara Siegel Carlson

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