What do we remember?

The object or the reconstruction

The storm of the century or the story of it

The winter roses in the desert, unbloomed and hard

 

How, once when I was small

I caught my foot in a mudhole in a field

How scared I was of being dragged under

When my mother pulled me away

I had lost the shoe

 

How she told me years later that when she was young, in Israel

She used Kabalistic numerology to decipher God’s phone number

But never called it

It made me think of that lost shoe

With its bright colors and its Velcro

 

I always picture her in the winter

How she broke her tailbone on a sled

That disintegrated going downhill with me on her lap

A class action lawsuit, I think, ensued

Those days are a white blur

 

How I cannot remember her and my father

Before their divorce

Ever expressing any affection to one another

 

How one year for Hanukkah

She built a huge menorah decoration

Out of chicken wire and ducktape and blue lights

Planted it on the front lawn on Christmas eve

I watched it from the window

As a blizzard came down and the lights never flickered

 

The Kafka phrase “an axe for the frozen sea” comes to mind

 

With the picture (unclear if it’s a dream or a memory)

Of my mother at the wheel of a car in the west

Wiping away the fog of her breath

Hunched and gripping the wheel against a storm

A roar both sound and light

Against some great dark at the glass

At bay

But trudging

Forward

 

Nate Maxson is a writer and performance artist. The author of several collections of poetry, he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.