Do we hold memory
or does memory hold us,
gathering and trading as 
it moves along on its way, 
holding onto bits it chooses,
tossing others without a care
as to how dear they are?

It is a real concern
on days when I walk into a room
and wonder what I came for,
or when a word I know
as well as my own name
sits on the tip of my tongue,
refusing to come forth.
Yet there are trivial dates
and data that never seem 
to get lost along the way.

I don't want to lose you,
if memory decides that
1066 and the Magna Carta
should stick around,
but the sound of your laughter
can be left by the wayside.
I cannot bear the thought
of looking into your face
and confusing you with someone else,
or worse yet,
think you're no one I've ever met.

I don't want to lose myself,
to look in the mirror 
and see a stranger
who looks slightly familiar
but with no connection to me
that I can recall,
someone who can't remember
her own name,
or thinks she exists in 
the time of her childhood.

Perhaps this is why 
I love looking at 
old photos and family videos,
reliving the good times
with family and friends.
If I do this often enough,
maybe I can trick memory
into holding onto me
and the things I hold most dear.

~Elise Skidmore ©2022

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2 Comments

  1. I like the way you took this from something most of us deal with, especially as we age, and then made it very personal -poetic.

    1. Thanks so much, Dab. I think that’s the beauty of poetry–it lets us see we’re not alone in the things we think and feel, but may not know how to express. We all get forgetful, especially as we age, and it can be very worrying, especially if we’ve been close to someone with Alzheimer’s.
      To be very honest, when I first saw all your lovely comments show up on my website today, I thought for a minute I’d been hit by a spammer–you probably noticed my site doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic. LOL. Then as I started reading your comments, it took me a minute to remember “dab” from the Cage. In my defense, the old Cage sadly disappeared so long ago and you did stay in stealth mode a lot back then too. But then it all clicked in! And how perfect to go with this poem about holding onto to memory! I do hope you come back often to keep my memory fresh.