Memory Care

rusted grey padlock in selective focus photography Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

There is an edge to memory.
At the nursing home there is a door
disguised as a bookcase
designed to keep her inside.
This place is not built
for death. This home
is about softening,
the ebbing of human movement
into the thickening space that surrounds.
This place is built for remembering
to become nonessential,
leave behind who you were taught
to be. It is The Simpsons that taught me
it is the soul that opens
automatic doors. The corporeal self
is worth nothing
to the god of the sliding door,
gatekeeper to WinCo and Walgreens
and Old Navy. If you should search
for your soul, Bart warns,
it will curdle into a ball,
swallow its tail
until it can pass for an everyday mole
or knuckle or lump of ear wax.
If you should find it,
do not attempt to peel
the pith from its pulpy crescents.
Some days she will dig
her hands into the air
and mutter what’s this doing here.
Even less, she will tell me
what she sees in our space.
The smoky-edged hills
and low bells of time.
The prairie starved for flowers.
The doors sssssshing wide.

Emmy Newman’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Permafrost, Poetry Northwest, CALYX: A Journal, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for Best New Poets, several Pushcart Prizes, and was a finalist for Best of the Net 2021. She currently serves as the Marketing & Events Manager for Split/Lip Press. Find her on Instagram @she_wins_an_emmy.

Appears In

Issue 15

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