A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

(Fear of) The Mom Without Qualities

I went home today and I brought back a book. 
The Man Without Qualities (volume 1).
It’s one of those big European books my mom liked to read.

Recently I read that if you don’t keep remembering a thing—
Remembering like exercise, like practice—
You will forget it.

Its qualities will become vague.
(My mom’s high school yearbook superlative:
Vague… vaguest….)

That can’t possibly happen to my memories of my mother, I think.
Mother: that distancing word. I worry: I am not exercising them enough.
I am wary of photos, as if they will replace memories.

Especially photos of her in her later sicker days
(Why would you put a frame on that?)
I am wary of memories of memories.

My secret resource is her books
So many she read that I have yet to read
Some she wrote in, one she wrote

Skimming, seeing post-its, dog-ears,
Marginalia. Chapter Four: 
"If there is a sense of reality, there must also be a sense of possibility"

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