Shreds by Carol Grametbauer

At the back of the desk drawer I’m cleaning out
I find three faded, unsent postcards, dated in my
handwriting, from a place I must have visited

but can’t recall at all. Memory, that erratic wretch,
never shows up when it’s needed, leaves us hanging
with little but a warehouse of images, unranked

by importance. You’d think we’d remember every
detail of the big things, at least—high school graduation,
the wedding, a parent’s funeral—but all that remains

is an assortment of random visuals, sounds, scents,
some of them as meaningless now as if they belonged
to someone else: a city bus bearing an advertisement

for a florist’s shop, cries of an infant heard through          
an open window, a line of abandoned snow angels
in the park at dusk, deep with shadows. So much else

skulks somewhere in the synapses, inaccessible,
like fragments of music playing from somewhere
in another room, shreds of a melody you almost 

think you recognize, then realize you don’t.

Carol Grametbauer’s poems have appeared in journals including Appalachian Review, Connecticut River Review, POEM, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and in a number of anthologies. She is the author of two chapbooks: Homeplace (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018) and Now & Then (Finishing Line Press, 2014). A Pushcart Prize nominee, she lives in Kingston, Tennessee, where she chairs the board of directors of Tennessee Mountain Writers

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