Raindrops in my Tea

Sunday evening porch-sitting
revitalizes my soul.
All the better if it rains,
to cleanse the past week’s worries
and water the seeds for this week.
The breeze twirls the steam from my hot tea
like a ballerina in a music box.

Twenty-three years of
and blinking
have led me to this moment,
and before that,
trillions of cosmic interactions,
over billions of years,
and I can’t even remember
why I was so upset this morning
when I awoke?

I take a sip of my tea,
and wonder why some memories
get to stay
while other memories
evaporate quietly?

Where do they go?

And to whom do my memories belong?

The gravity of the question pulls me towards its center,
and then I am using the leafy backdrop of
the trees behind my house to hold my gaze
as my mind begins to process this.

I believe
my childhood memories belong to my mother,
who read me the tale of The Cricket in Times Square
as I was enveloped by infant slumber;
my mother who held the kitchen towel to my
gushing forehead after I knocked my head upon
the table, and then cried I didn’t want to go to the hospital;
my mother who heard my first creative utterance,
who tells me how I accused my father of being “hoggyshow”
when he was being far too indulgent with his turn with the ball
for my judgmental and dipolomatic three-year-old self to stand.

She owns the memories of my past self,
the self at the center of the seeds of my existence;
she is the writer of those stories,
she is the scribe of what I know of who I was,
as who I am today
was not there to know who I was,
and these memories have dissipated, faded
out of my consciousness
before I even knew to hold on to them.
They are only dormant memories for me,
clips of dreams
and sometimes a fleeting familiarity
when triggered by something close
to what I felt
or what I thought I felt
or what I’ve been told I felt.

We can never really know our past
because two voices speak of what happened;
what we remember of our past
and what we feel today.

I take the memories my mother gifts me
with open palms
and set them on the shelf
with all the other trinkets
and knick knacks
that once meant a great deal to me
and now I hold on to for some sentimental sake.

I take a sip of my hot tea,
and the breeze blows a few spittle raindrops across me.

My adolescent memories belong to a young woman
who lives like a ghost among us,
no longer alive,
but not gone,
her presence still perceptible,
but not greatly influential,
like the gentle nudge of a breeze in a closed room,
or an untouched book falling to the floor from a bed.
Her memories are narrated with the voice of a girl
confused, insecure, longing,
and I merely store these memories for her,
telling them like stories time to time,
forgiving and embracing her with each oration,
towards some hopeful release,
maybe a pipe dream of sending her to rest.

This ghostlike girl remembers a state of constant earthquake
in her thoughts, steel bars surrounding her heart.
Her memories provide a torrential downpour of
crying before a dusty mirror,
an unstoppable mantra of suppression,
lying on the floor of a dark room while classical piano
played her into a poetic state of emotional purgatory.
These are loud memories when retrieved,
but otherwise undulate quietly as wavelengths through
my heartbeat.

Have you ever noticed how you can’t see a light rain in the daylight,
unless you focus on nothing at all,
not the trees in the background,
not the gray sky above,
but focused on nothing–on air–
and then the dashing downward droplets
appear to our vision?

I take another sip of my tea
and set it on the railing for a moment.
Raindrops are tossed upon it
and ripple in my mug.

I suppose my adult memories belong to me
and also no one;
I live them
and let them go,
I am the sole possessor of my moments,
and the forgetter all the same.
Reality is now whatever I believe it is,
and memories can bend and fold with time
until they’re only a story, nothing more,
no longer the same as how they began.

I remember the day I bought my first car,
and I remember how my body felt the evening
the love of my life first asked me out on a date
while we were working together, standing by the coffee pumps,
and I remember flying on an airplane with my father
at sunrise, and how I was so moved by the colorful ascension
into the cloudy heaven as the sun erupted its light upon us.
I remember lone walks by the Cuyahoga river,
I remember warm nights with friends on porch steps,
I remember hot summer afternoons in hot houses,
and drunken Christmas parties
and achy 9-hour car rides to D.C.
and shoveling my car out of 4 feet of snow before work
and hiking among the Redwood forest trees so tall
and kind eyes from strangers
and crying over long work days
and laughing with my brother
and calling up my mom
and not knowing what to do
and not knowing where to go
and being lost
and being found
and being lost

But what
do I not remember?
What laughter,
what delight,
what happiness
have I now forgotten?

Where do all the beautiful moments go,
that I can’t remember?
How could I remember every blissful spark?
Why do these memories get to live
while others turn transparent and effervesce?

It seems
we must be ready to part with memories
as quickly as they form
or we will turn our tea bitter
if we keep the tea bag in too long.

So much of life is moving on
letting go;
memories try to interrupt the turning cycle
but the laughter will live in our heart
even if we forget the joke.

It’s all
raindrops in my tea
on a windy day.
Tears in the puddle
individually indistinguishable,
adding to the whole,
accidental, come what may,
and I drink it
and with a bow of my head.

Thank you for enjoying my poem! If you would like to read more poetry on Slanted Spines, visit my Poems page.

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