When I saw you this morning I knew instantly that I hadn’t seen you in more than twenty years, although it is quite possible we have never met and today was the first time my eyes ever gazed at your face .
I suppose it is lucky that you did not recognize me although I don’t think I’ve changed all that much in twenty years.
I was going to call out your name, but decided against it in case you have changed it or, possibly because you wouldn’t answer to the name I choose to give you.
It was good seeing you today, let’s do again in a decade or so.
You came into my life last week, your name forever locked away inside her mind. My life, she felt, would never be the same and therefore left all thought of you behind. You loved her, I suppose, that summer night then left her, bearing me, until she turned me over for adoption, that she might forget the love that you so quickly spurned. A Jew, she said, but would say little more a father, Portuguese, is all I know, who cast his seed, then left and closed the door and me, the son, he never would see grow. You left her life long before I was born, the father I won’t know but only mourn.
First published in Minison Project, Sonnet Collection Series, Vol. 2, Sept. 2021
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.
I have visited countless galleries, stared at or shielded my eyes from all manner of art, but I always read the plaques affixed to the walls, name of artist, of work price, the relative amount speaking to the financial state of the gallery.
I actually care very little about the name of the artist other than as a historical reference, for the piece has already spoken or remained in total silence.
I do glance at the title and wonder why so many artists, of infinite creativity, when it comes to words are struck mute, and tell me their work is simply “Untitled,” which for me is but another way of saying, unpurchasable.
What I most want to do now, locked in by something unseen, is to wander the streets of cities here, Europe, it hardly matters, and find statues whose plaques are worn away or gone missing, now nameless souls of once lesser fame meriting a bronze or of such ego as donating their own image to the town.
They are forgotten souls, often rightfully so no doubt, but even the forgotten deserve a name merit a history and higher purpose, and I would offer those, with Banksy-like labels, this old bearded man, now Ignatius Fatuus, best remembered for inventing the pyramidal bread pan, where each loaf is uniformly burned on top, and there Shoshanna Chesed, who pointed out that if we were created in God’s image, it is likely God is a woman given the planet’s gender distribution, before the zealots stone her for blasphemy, insuring their own ultimate, eventual ticket to hell.
But perhaps the virus will grow tired of us, mutate, and go after one of the myriads more intelligent species we have not yet foolishly or greedily rendered extinct.
First appeared in The Poet: A New World, Autumn 2020