She went around pre-registered
for her own eventual absence.

Not that she believed
her self-estrangement
would save her,
whatever that meant,

but she hoped
that registering this estrangement
with the proper authorities
might still


Nice as it was, she resented it—
this memory—this
river-boat hotel deck chair
in—Phoenix (?).

There was no place for it
in her already crowded rooms.

She was no hoarder!

But the alternative
seemed even worse


Copyright © 2016 by Rae Armantrout. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 9, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Is it possible to have too many memories? When we get to that point, are we ready to die? Probably not, and, besides, I don't believe there are any riverboats in Phoenix.”
—Rae Armantrout