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All Memories Are Really Half Memories, a poem by Rosemary Freedman

All Memories Are Really Half Memories

by Rosemary Freedman

All memories are really half memories;
a pie without the smell of the pie.
A photo of you fishing
without the sting and swell of mosquito bites.
The lake with small granite colored waves
and we cannot recall the name of the boy
who drowned there, or even that he drowned.

We think back and see all the clear faces,
but they were never really clear,
because the sun was almost completely blinding.
And this is how it is, our brains
on perpetual auto-correct, fixing the broken half-faces.
Correcting all the flaws. Tricking us.

Sometimes we wake up
and all that is left are uncorrected proofs.
The half face we could not see
is filled in with the imperfections,
or left empty to show what never was.

Sometimes we see just a blur. The photo someone took
when putting the camera into their purse.
The memory we did not pay attention to—
like that one girl who sat alone in the cafeteria.
You know—the one with the sleeveless vest people laughed at.

We keep our memories like children playing four-square,
all of us seeing them from our own angle.
Some of the stuff we forget makes life easier.
Children whose mother left them waiting
on the front steps
for a Christmas visit,
only to get a visit from The Salvation Army people.

They remember the opening of presents
on the screened in front porch of grandmother's house.
They leave out the part that no one was welcome
beyond the screened in area, because grandmother
was a hoarder. They do not remember their mother being too drunk to show up.
All they recall is playing the red and teal Rockem-Sockem Robots
all evening, and the laughter and
all the bright colors.

From Rosemary Freedman: “I am married and have seven children. I have a B.A. in creative writing and literature, and a master's in nursing education, a post-master's as a Nurse Practitioner and a post-master's as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. When I am not writing poetry, I work as an advanced practice nurse.”