Remember by Kate Light
I know, I need to forget you. But this time of the year makes it so damn hard. I couldn’t, wouldn’t – believe it. Just last year might have probably been the happiest Christmas of my life.
Nina Simone on the radio. Singing how well she’s been, without her man. I get along without you very well, she sings. Of course I do. But oh, oh, oh. That telling line, in the end: to think my breaking heart could kid the moon—
I keep telling myself: be strong, be strong. But I remember being strongest when I was with you. You kept me together. When you left, I shattered into a million pieces, and now I don’t even know where to begin picking up. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to retrieve all of me.
There, I switched the station. And it’s Joni Mitchell, and I switched again because I couldn’t bear that, I couldn’t. But not before hearing, I really don’t know love at all—
And I never really knew you at all. I thought we were happy. But now, there’s the sense that everything is all out on the table. And I see you standing up, walking away from everything. Walking away from me. But darling—
What is there left to say? There is only Frank Sinatra now, wishing you love, and a poem, to end this night:
when you’re lonely in your room, and the year
is hovering in your eyes; remember, when
he calls you late and sorry, how the tears
had made you wise; how it happened again
and again, pushing you out and pulling you in,
and how his words were wind that fanned your fears;
how he could not help himself, though his skin
was sweet and soft, and though — when you were near —
he was drawn to you; how his body was truth and on-
ly his body was truth — no, no, remember how lost
you felt and how often, and how high the cost,
and how close Love sat next to Lone.
Remember — a whispering in your vein — how keen
the pleasure, but how stabbing deep the pain.
From Open Slowly by Kate Light, published by Zoo Press, 2003.