The Banning of Remembrances

Insistently I try to follow new rules: 
No more past, no more ghosts, take people for what they are, not what they remind you of.
In the present, in the present, that’s all that is, the present. 
No more layers of factual history, of moods, of sentiments past, no, just the present.
When you walk along these suburban streets under enormous trees, on the sidewalk uneven from protruding ancient roots, or step on the thick grass along the path to make space for your friend, when you admire the mansions, the red tower of the firehouse, don’t drift remembering the years you lived here, now just a city visitor.
When you pick mulberries, don’t go back in time.
Don’t remember the Black Sea village where hungrily, a runaway teenager on the cusp of womanhood, you and your husband-to-be, lowered the branches so you can pick the ripe mulberries.
How you ate hungrily black mulberries, shooing away the chicken that were picking the fallen ones from the cracked earth, the smell of chicken droppings cackling sarcastic at your great romance.
Mulberries cause diarrhea.

As you hide in the shade of the tree picking, eating dust and car pollution, chase away the little girl you were, up in the trees, sitting in the trees for hours, at ease, a bird in her nest, your hands stained dark red, don’t remember your mother scolding you ruined your white dress.
Just the now, just your new friend picking fruit in a plastic bag, appeasing her own fears: Oh, is she greedy? she worries. Does she steal from the birds? What will they eat now, the birds? Well, they have plenty of mulberries on the top of the tree where my friend can’t reach.
What will I do with my new life, in which remembrances are enemies? Where there is no fog of nostalgia, no recognition of Oh, I’ve seen this before! Oh, you remind me of so and so!
Life now will be like sight with new prescription glasses, perhaps.
Clear vision, no vagueness.
Except new glasses always give me headaches.

March 2008

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