The Long And Short Of Memory

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.


Alfred Dorn began writing poetry at age ten after reading James Russell Lowell’s “Aladdin.” A prolific, widely published writer of metrical verse, he is the author of Voices From Rooms,and From Cells To Mindspace, both published in 1997 by Somers Rocks Press; and Claire And Christmas Village, issued by Pivot Press in 2002. He is the coordinator of the World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets Contest, which offers large cash awards for the best metrical entries. Dr. Dorn’s interests include art history, philosophy, travel, antiques, and psychic research