01 January 1970

Poem: A Room Of Memory

Weekend Reads

Poem: A Room Of Memory

This is a poem about the transition, a negotiation, between life and memory.

A Family riding on a scooter
A Family riding on a scooter Getty Images

You have a room
a room of memory, 
where you sit and wait 
for life to happen to you. 
You own that world
to maintain the momentary
order of things. You let 
your head wander 
in all directions while secretly 
guarding the place 
where you have buried 
your life's desires. Somehow, 
in the most disorderly moments 
of life, you seek a happening
in your life through memory. 
In the brief instant of life, 
you look in the mirror—
you feel trapped inside your body, 
in the mirror, in life, 
and in all the other things 
that remotely gaze 
at your reflection. You realize 
that the world is such a small place 
for you—small for your desires, 
small for your grief. In the night's
quietest hour, when you see 
life through the gauze of memory, 
the world vanishes from sight. 
All you can see is 
your solitary self, pulled together 
by needles of memory, 
weaving life and grief.