by Ute Carson
Quail Bell Magazine, May 2022

My book of life is wedged between bookends.
I search for memories I want to keep.
There is a chapter on my beginnings,
several about my middle years,
and one, in progress, anticipating the end.
A few are marked special,
many are dog-eared,
others tear-stained.
Some are written in indelible ink,
many dashed off in pencil.
I leaf through the stories,
slow down here and there to reread.
A few pages are blank.
On the whole though, how colorful the script,
how pregnant with meaning the manuscript
from one end to the other
as years rise from the pages.



Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.
- Cicero

Oh, my dear, that was so long ago, Aunt Frieda sighs.
How could I possibly remember that day in December?
Why, then, do I recall the day so vividly?
The snow was piled high on the slanted roof.
I stood on a wooden bench
blowing peepholes onto the frosted windowpane
and spying a winter wonderland.
You have a good memory, child.
You should write things down before the traces are lost.
A good memory is a special gift. It reels in the past.
And more than personal memories are stored there.
Words written down -- pen to notebook,
chisel to stone, pigment to canvas--
are retained in the nooks of our brain
but also in the big book of human history.

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