Turned ninety, Hal would have stumbled past the date
that marks his birth if not for that one card
from a still-breathing friend. Memories stay
fresh only when they’re old.
Again he’s eight,
beating his pals at marbles in the yard,
a small god flicking planets that click in play.
He’s twelve, back in the Gypsy’s carnival tent,
head swimming in beads, dark hair, and jasmine scent.
He’s blurry about things that occurred last year—
thumb torched by greasy kitchen stove, the cut
from a trembly shave, running from chin to ear.
He’s puzzled. Were those agonies dreamed or not?
He’d thank lost wits for making them disappear
but doesn’t. He forgets that he forgot.