LIFE IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

Madness is a thief of memory.

When I tell you I am stable now
what I’m really saying is I can’t
call to mind a single conversation
I’ve had in four years.
It’s a cruel
life, fixed on the fringes of recall.
The mind only retains so much,
insignificant snippets that only
hold in poetry, but worthless
everywhere else: the wafting of
magnolia through the curtains
of my grandmother’s old house,
the angles of my first love’s feet
lying placid on the linen, those
trifling particulars. I can only
trace the outlines of my history,
the color gone, faces as misty
as London in the morning.

When you jokingly bring up
the past— remember winter
in the city? How we watched
the skaters loop the Christmas
tree, laughing until the sun
died and they all looked like
ghosts?
— I laugh hard because
I don’t. I love you in illusion.

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