I thought I would write about poetry. This idea didn’t just come out of the ether. My friend Pat recently sent me Billy Collins’ poem “Forgetfulness” (published in Questions About Angels, 1991). I think the poem perfectly delineates the waning of my once (if I do say so myself) prodigious memory.
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
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