Unassailable: Reiko's Poem

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My friend, Reiko, a novelist and memoirist, lost her mother too recently, and every day when I wake up, I think of her.  Today I remember this poem I wrote for Reiko years ago.  Both of us, then and now, undone and remade by the desire to remember.


From where we stood, on the castle rock
Of Central Park, Harlem was as near as
Twenty years ago.  Everything
Between then and us was green.

The pond turtles were stacked up like stones
On stones.  The trees were a day away
From shucking their own shells.
The red wing of a black bird was like a hand
That had been dealt, and we were the splendor
Sight we had given ourselves.

Afterward, it was Amsterdam to Broadway,
Columbus Circle down to the sweet
Remembered squalor of Times Square,
And on every corner:  Song.
The high hollows of the Peruvians,
The mesquite of a jazz trombone,
The Mennonites in hairnets and black sneakers.

I wondered later whether we had become
The engine of concatenation,
Two women made radical
With unappeasable want,
The unassailable desire to remember.


Bee said...

This is such atmospheric writing. It's haunting.

I'm thinking of your friend. Can't imagine what she's going through.

Lilian Nattel said...

I'm so sorry about your friend. The poem is lovely, Beth.

Holly said...

in my birthday-wish alternate dreamworld, you've published a verse novel.

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