It's as if our memories were words written
with lemon juice for ink, appearing only when the paper
is held near a flame.
"How do you know you're not just imagining...?"
Sometimes I'm not sure. Sometimes I know.
Flame, after all, flickers. I don't worry about it.
I'm not an academic historian of myself (no notes
on my feet). Remembered plaster ceilings
look like plaster ceilings. Remembered bathroom
floors, paths through woods, even faces in mirrors...
Remembered -- no, RE-EXPERIENCED motion, regret,
agony -- remembered or imagined? Who cares?
But when re-living, I encounter an old decision
(an atom of decision at the core of an agony
I've peeled away, layer by layer) --
a decision, for example, that it is safest
not to feel much -- at last, here,
at the point of decision, I can now unmake
my old decision. Ah, the laughter,
as if I'd tugged on the red thread that opens
a package, my life, my wonderment), and I find
myself feeling things I'd forgotten could be felt
(thought others only pretended to feel) --
yes, that's the smell of cut grass, and me
alive with it, the ice in my face melting!
When right now I am freed of an old
decision -- to be nobly sad, to avoid dogs,
to distrust all smiles, to hide, to be misunderstood
(but NOBLY misunderstood) -- Oh, that is beyond
Note: "No notes on my feet" that is, no footnotes.
Here and in an earlier poem in this sequence I refer to something
being opened by one's tugging on a red thread. I hope all my readers
have performed this trick, but not too often, as it's most often
used for opening the wrapping on Bandages.