I’m sharing something from my yoga + journaling class today. We were prompted to write a poem from the heart without trying to be clever, or lyrical, or rhythmic. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of nostalgia, and the dangers of retroactively constructing personal narratives out of the constellations of our memories. I am not a poet by any means, but I am trying to become more comfortable with abstraction. This is what I wrote.
My childhood room had yellow walls, all pale and bare. At night, my dad would fall asleep on the floor beside my bed, because I was scared to be alone.
I would drift off to the sound of his breath—
the sound of a room made full.
I return here when I feel the world is most complicated by adulthood. Little yellow flame. I reach for it when it rains. It is small enough to hold in my hands. A place still quiet and warm, made whole by its simplicity.
Little yellow room.
One patient father pretending to doze on the trim eggshell carpet.
And now, in remembering, me as I am, hovering above,
this memory humming supernatural with my presence.
A scene intact as in a locket,
and now me, me now,
fumbling open the clasp, clumsy fingers on a heart.
Memories keep only so long as I do not enter them.
Doesn’t she look happy? Or is it the yellow on her cheek? Her face is slivered by the moonlight, and one side looks cold.
I can preserve her by forgetting, but where would I go when it rains?