“As We Grow Older” & “The Job of Memory”

ocean waves light clouds

As we grow older

If you forget my name
I will become a window
Facing the sea
A raised window that
The light will blow through
Like a warm wind
You will be walking
In the sand
Near where the waves
Exhaust themselves
And slide back out
To the big water
You will be looking down
As if searching
For a lost piece of jewelry
Perhaps it will be my name
You are trying to find
I will call out to you
It’s me I will shout
I am here
And I will say my name
You will look up and
See in my polished panes
Flashes of sunlight
Blue squares of ocean and sky
Tiny reflections of yourself
You will smile
And say Of course
Then walk to where I am
And like a young girl
Hike up your long skirt
To lift yourself up over the sill
And step inside


The job of memory

When I cannot recall the title of a book
Or the name of a lake in northern Minnesota
I try to resist the Google temptation
And instead set my aging neurons to work
Doing what they were hired to do

What they lack these days in alacrity
They make up for with tenacity
As they methodically search every closet
And cabinet and shelf in my brain
Often for long minutes, even hours
While I fidget and squirm and stew
With mounting frustration
But almost invariably one of them
Will finally burst into my office
Waving a piece of paper and shouting
We found it, Boss!
And when that happens
There is great rejoicing in all the cubicles
Dancing on the desks
Tossing confetti
Everyone so happy to still have a job

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