by Cassandra Anouthay


The other day, my father told me
my middle name means remembrance.
(It was one of our rare phone calls.)
And I wonder why he chose that
because soon after I was born,
he would come to forget about me.
And I wonder if I’m something to forget,
like an umbrella or a cup of coffee.
And I wonder–does the name explain
how I remember so much?
Dirty, skinned knees, a trailer park pool,
moonlit trees in a second story window,
eating uncooked ramen on back balconies,
baby hairs on the nape, curled and sweaty,
and morning breath kisses.
And I wonder–did my father make a list of words?
Scribbled them on a napkin or maybe his arm,
the inked black dragon on it breathing
love and peace and flower and elephant.
(My mother thought it was elephant.)
Then scratched out each one until
all that was left was remembrance.
And I’m telling you now,
with a warm heart and a clenched fist:
all that is left is remembrance.

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