2.10.19: flame in hand

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 desk.

One closet.

One bed.

One patient father pretending to doze on the trim eggshell carpet.

And now, in remembering, me as I am, hovering above,

rendered omniscient,

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?