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Sometimes our memories are stray animals taken in, by Nicole Brissette

Sometimes our memories are stray animals taken in,
Or new relationships suffocated, worn thin.
Squeeze too tight, and you lose ‘em.
Hold fast to the strings pulled on your heart in your past and you screw them
Where your mind, like a careless child must have threw them away.

My mind likes to do this much too much
So as a child I’d write poems and journals full of pulled heartstring moments and such,
Even so they never were full enough to prove a proper crutch.
So I began to take hold, took to chiropracting my mind bones so that they might clutch upon the present instead.

Yet repressed memories continued to burn through my mind, forest fires turned sinkholes that thought they were
protecting me from something.
A something so vast and so thick I can’t get through it or process it without jumping
In, to assess the damage.

I don’t remember my parents fighting,
I only remember the day we moved to a new place without my father
I don’t remember them being happy either.
I don’t remember the words of the poem I wrote and read to my grandfather on his death bed, I only remember
writing it.
I don’t remember what state I was in or who I was with when my mother had her heart attack out on the road in
Connecticut.
I don’t remember the bitter words you or I slung at each other in our argument yesterday.

It’s a cruel trick
A consciousness of oil,
Slick with trying to keep from getting sick,
but making me sicker,
Pickling my brain like a fine liquor,
It’s become content with forget
Quicker and quicker and quicker
Because then the pain is only a flicker
Until trying to recover the loss of the flame.

When my heart pulls back to take aim at my brain which deserves the blame but wishes only to be tamed
I feel I am not in control yet still, I am ashamed
These moments of hurt are mine to be claimed
Not meant to be hidden away from me
Like this is some kind of disgusting game
Of hide and seek.

So I had taken to telling my life story to everyone I meet
And it wasn’t fair because it wasn’t for them it was for me.
So I let my story go, I let that stray cat be.
I let what’s left, the fragments of those moments remain mind tainted memories.
Still I question every moment of sheltered sanity, of a strange complacency.
And until the end I imagine I’ll keep trying to see
Facing the fight instead of seeking to flee
And isn’t that something we all wish to be?
Whole again.

 art by Nicole Brissette and Justin Martinez

art by Nicole Brissette and Justin Martinez

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