Thursday, January 15, 2009


One of my favorite books of poetry is "You Won't Remember This" by Michael Dennis Browne. I had Professor Browne for a summer poetry class I took at the U, and after taking it I bought his book. I still see him from time to time, shopping at the co-op, which I think is pretty neat.

Anyway, the book is poems about his kids, mostly, and the title poem "You Won't Remember This" has stayed with me. Here's the first part:

You lift your arms to your head,
which looks so dark, then turn
to lie on your side, the fluid
swilling in your abdomen.
The radiologist says:

"Anything dark is liquid,
anything white is muscle,
anything gray is bone."

These like the moon pictures,
wavering, grainy, the lens
lurching, and again you turn;
that shadowy bulb is your head,
those snow streaks your muscles,
those blurred tundras your bones.

you won't remember this

At ten days
you look lonely.
You seem between countries.

You look at me briefly,
not with interest.
You give no sign.

I toss you shreds of song
to where you lie,
down in the cradle canyon,
looking up.

Remote to you my moon
drifts over the rim

You lie,
looking up.

you won't remember this

Today your first injection,
and tonight you cry, your thigh
throbbing. Now you have fallen
asleep on my left shoulder,
lying across my heart.

you won't remember this

You don't want to go
to day care today; you weep,
you cling to my leg,
you roll your eyes:
oh no oh no; all the sorrows
of my mother in my daughter.

you won't remember this

I hear a moaning from upstairs;
slowly you descend--whooo whooo whooo --
ver your head the nibbled blanket;
on the last tread trip, topple
--oops! oops! --
nd I gather up my ghost.

you won't remember this

It's a phrase and a poem that often comes to mind in this first year with Gus and now with this second pregnancy. So much of our early lives is gone to our memories, but so much of it is formative, I think. Attitudes about food, about life, and love - all these feelings and learning about life are being formed now, while he's only so wee.

Last night, standing in the kitchen. He'd kicked out of his pants and his shirt was half undone. Standing, throwing the tupperware over his head, I couldn't help by think " you won't remember this." Oh, but I will sweet one. It's moments like these I hope I never forget.

1 comment:

Steve said...

That's a very sweet post.