It starts quickly and unexpectedly. You do not know when it will start, why, or what it will bring. There are times when even after it is done, you cannot be certain what it was, what it did, what it meant. Often, though, you forget it before you have time to capture it. It is evanescent, an intense glimmer that can quickly fade to a void, as though it was never there. You wish you could capture it, but you know well that dreams act under their own rules.
There are things children know
that parents will never understand.
Odder still, things a person knows
as a child are forgotten in adulthood.
A child measures the success of a day
by the duration of the parent
demanded bath at its end.
A child know that boundaries, especially
those parentally set, are flexible
and you don’t know where
the limit is until you cross it.
Presents are not special, they are
expected periodically, and only
a parent imagines that Santa
would ignore a child no matter
how “bad” the child had been.
But happily, when a parent
crosses the boundary into the land
of grandparenting, somehow
the knowledge of the child
is refound, very often accompanied
by one or more conspiratorial winks.
We have now forgotten what
it is like to take flight, to seek,
to finally find a true freedom
from an always grasping land.
Once we did it out of necessity,
lives incomplete, prisoners
who committed no crime
save those of thought and faith.
Now we only claim to admire
those who seek what we
once did, watch them with
mock awe, but deny them
perch when the journey
for them could end, and even
the birds now shun us, for our
lack of compassion and memory.
It is not that I am getting
forgetful as I grow older, it is
merely that I am replacing
old information with new,
my mind is large but
its capacity is still finite.
So if I forget your name
when I see you, it is not
because you do not matter,
although that could be the case,
it is simply that I now
remember the names of others
and yours exceeded capacity.
It is not that I do not care
about you, assume that I do
whether true or not, help
me by introducing yourself
again, a gentle reminder
of where and how we met,
unless, of course, you
have forgotten me as well,
in which case I am pleased
to have the chance to meet you.
You search without end for a way
to precisely measure life in all of its aspects.
You will not be dissuaded by the fact that you can no more
control its span than you could control your need to breathe.
You say you picked the sperm and egg,
that their union you carefully orchestrated.
You believe all things can be measured,
if you can only identify proper metrics for the task.
You know precisely how tall you are, how much
you have shrunken over the years,
how much your waistline has grown.
You can count your good deeds, have a rating scale
that says your next life will be karmic payback hell.
You are taken with measurements of all sorts,
so much so that you often forget to fully live.
You say that this loss doesn’t matter much,
for living boldly, thoroughly, gives you
far too much more to measure.
Each day I am certain something
more slips away, forgotten, no
longer able to be recalled, lost
in the vast abyss of yesterdays.
I would like to think this happens
because something new, something
better has taken its place, and I
had no choice but to displace it.
That is the convenient story I tell
myself, although I am rarely convinced,
and know that there is a good chance
it is no more than a lie of sorts,
but one that will slip away
and be replaced by something better,
or perhaps I will just forget
that it was a lie in the first place.