Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


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.

Credit


From Deleted Names (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Lawrence Schimel. Used with the permission of the author.

Author


Lawrence Schimel

Lawrence Schimel is the author of the chapbook Deleted Names (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013). He lives in Madrid, Spain.

Date Published: 2018-10-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/deleting-names-decaying-sestina