Deleting Names (A Decaying Sestina)
Scrolling through the at-the-limit list of names,
I’m caught unaware: my phone displays a friend
I’ll never be able to call again.
Now that all that’s left of her are memories
I can’t delete her entry, it seems too final,
as if it would erase our entire past together.
Phones are democratic: jumbled together
are lovers and colleagues, name after name
in alphabetical order. It was she who finally
convinced me to get a phone; the day my friend
and I went to buy it is still a vivid memory:
I was having one of those lapses of memory;
not long before, he and I had spent the night together.
We run into him on the street; both he and my friend
expect an introduction, but I’ve forgotten his name.
I’ve now forgotten so many boys; only their names
remain, stored in my phone’s memory.
Those I can delete, but not my friend’s.
It’s as if all that remains of our friend-
ship is this metonymy of her name
on a SIM-card full of memories and names.
From Deleted Names (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Lawrence Schimel. Used with the permission of the author.