I am told that memory can’t afford
to care less about what it brings to light
just as I’m told the table does not
occupy itself with cleanliness
nor the made bed with desire,
but it is difficult to believe.
I do not imagine it simple to strip
from any given afternoon
the intentions of the day.
Not when a contingent darkness
announces itself at the door
like an ordinary to-do
and not when, in the winter garden,
the beautifully managed trees
toy with shadows of themselves.
A skim of plausible survival
settles on what I do while, in the museum
of the everyday, no dust whatsoever
is to be found on the bedside chair,
impeccable gold quilt.
It may well be possible to separate
into a fiction of forgetfulness,
the accomplished house,
but I don’t believe in it either.
There is before and after,
surely, and there is discretion
to be accounted for, and grief,
night after night, city after city,
word after functional word.
This is whatever time I have.
My whole body has to find a way
to be in possession of itself
like a shop selling only white things
or the way two bridges on the same river
will have knowledge of each other.
I first read this poem by Vona Groarke here at Poetry Daily: http://poems.com/poem.php?date=16185