I find my mother’s address books in a box, but their leaves are pristine. White lined sheets are empty of names now forgotten.

Because the bounds have been broken, untethered ends left to whip in the wind with cruel purpose. Rosy bloomed cheeks and magenta lips turned chalky, finger waves once carefully tended collapse flat and gray,  the scent of lilies overrun with sour reminders that live with me alone.

Lest I forget as time ticks faster by, I bombard my brain with memories of crust-less tuna fish sandwiches, neatly folded napkins, the beat of a wooden spoon against a metal bowl. The clatter of bangle bracelets and stories told and retold; a wan tale is better than none at all.

But there’s nothing to tie up in a pretty ribbon and make it fine. My source and nemesis both, I recall things for her that are uncemented, and forget staked truths. Though I try to know the difference, the mind is a cunning opponent.

I hunt for more evidence of her in little triangles of paper left crammed in drawers. Envelope pieces with careful school girl cursive mark reminders of the next birthday, baby shower, anniversary. Saved in little plastic baggies with twisty ties, they wait for the day when the address books will rejoice in their purpose. I ache to undo them, but the wires are bent with the curves of her fingers. And so I let them be.


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