I Am Asking You to Trust My Memory-Wheel

Northridge Review, Vol. 3.2 (1985)

Jordan Jones

The interior of my ear
hurts in pulses, memories
of your explanations for lateness,
each time more inventive.
You began with flat tires and cracked pots, I could believe it.
Then that stray cat along the shoulder you had to catch.
It scratched you.  Where was the scratch?  Where was the cat?
Next, I thought, aliens will be stopping traffic
for smog inspections and Rorschach tests.

Each time you lie you displace me.
I am a refugee wandering a strange country
sifting a dark new language.  You have your wheel and clay;
I have the heat of your kiln.  I will keep your letters
and pottery, the sleek lines of your flat hands,
their enthusiasm.  Don't worry about my memory
and don't send me letters when you're gone.
I must be alone in a room with my own wheel
turning a bust of you out of wet fresh memories.
If you arrive as you are now, not were then,
even on paper, my fingers may poke through the eyes
and form a ghoul of you instead of who I remember.

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