• Shana Ritter

Made of Memories

I have been writing a poem a day in honor of national poetry month. Four of us who write together weekly have been sharing these online the company, even virtually, is sustaining. Some days I use prompts from http://www.napowrimo.net (that’s National Poetry Writing Month) but most days I find I just fall into memory.

With eyes closed I am in the Bronx apartment, not just seeing the windows opening out onto Sedgwick Ave but touching the sills, leaning out, hearing the ping of a pink spalding hit the sidewalk, the thwack of a ball hitting a broomstick.

The feel of grass takes me to my second home in Rockland County, lying in the green yard watching clouds, no sounds but the rustle of leaves. Hear Joni Mitchell’s Blue and I am living again in Buffalo, record on the turntable, brown rice and stir fry  the college classes  have faded into a blurred list but the shared late night conversations are clear. A photo of me standing in front of the old doors in Antigua, Guatemala and the market is still full of birds of paradise,  a hundred kind of avocados, each a slightly different shade of green. Each of these memories is visceral. There is tone and color, scent and sound.

I think of Muriel Rukeyser’s quote “the world isn’t made of atoms, it is made of stories”, and I add each story consists of molecules of memory, waiting to be evoked by some touch or sound or scent. Like the tress just outside my window each bud waiting to unfurl into the touch of sun.

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