Only love could make me long for all the things I once feared:
eternity as silence, forgetfulness, a scar over the raw wound
you left behind. You taught me heaven is not a place, but
the magic circle drawn around two souls,
and then you broke it, invisible ink scuffed
so you could let the demons in. Yours, mine: it no longer matters,
in the end, every ravening hunger is the same, any gaping maw
will swallow the unwary. That was how you left me,
with the weight of your embrace still pressed against my spine,
and when you let go, I was too slow to catch you.
Some things can never be repaired.
The best I can hope for, a fire from somewhere deep
in the heart of existence, a pure melting of all you abandoned.
Forget, I tell myself. Forget and be forgotten. Freedom
is another word for amnesia. I’ll rub out the last of the circle,
turn these sharp–toothed dreams loose. If rosemary means remembrance,
is there an herb, a flower, a dead brown stick
that symbolizes its opposite? I want that, until
a shadow on my wall, a voice like yours, like yours,
calls me out of a world that let you take
every bright thing with you when you left.
(Editors’ Note: “The Book of Forgetting” is read by Erika Ensign in the Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 9B.)
© 2016 by Jennifer Crow