Memory—died August 3, 2015. The
death was not sudden but slowly over a
decade. I wonder if, when people die,
they hear a bell. Or if they taste
something sweet, or if they feel a knife
cutting them in half, dragging through
the flesh like sheet cake. The caretaker
who witnessed my mother’s death quit.
She holds the memory and images and
now they are gone. For the rest of her
life, the memories are hers. She said
my mother couldn’t breathe, then took
her last breath 20 seconds later. The
way I have imagined a kiss with many
men I have never kissed. My memory
of my mother’s death can’t be a
memory but is an imagination, each
time the wind blows, leaves unfurl
a little differently.
Ambition—died on August 3, 2015, a
sudden death. I buried ambition in the
forest, next to distress. They used to
take walks together until ambition
pushed distress off the embankment.
Now, they put a bracelet around my
father’s ankle. The alarm rings when
he gets too close to the door. His
ambitious nature makes him walk to
the door a lot. When the alarm rings,
he gets distressed. He remembers that
he wants to find my house. He thinks
he can find my house. His fingerprints
have long vanished from my house.
Some criminals put their fingers on
electric coils of a stove to erase their
fingerprints. But it only makes them
easier to find. They found my father in
the middle of the road last month, still
like a bulbless lamp, unable to recall its
function, confused like the moon. At
the zoo, a great bald eagle sits in a
small cage because of a missing wing.
Its remaining wing is grief. Above the
eagle, a bird flying is the eagle’s
memory and its prey, the future.