its scary that memories change. that the further away you get from the source of a memory the less reliable it becomes.
when i was in fifth grade, i wrote a short story about a wolf interviewing a deer and turned it in as a science report. my teacher wasnt mad. it was creative. he told my mom writings going to be important for him.
or at least thats what i remember. but fifth grade was 18 years ago. the classroom, the teacher, the short story—maybe theyre not as i recall. maybe i exaggerated them. fabricated them. maybe it never even happened. maybe i saw it on a tv show and stole it for myself, a little mental bauble now indistinguishable from a real memory.
my grandmother had alzheimers. it ate away her memory for years before it finally took her body. my father and i sat with her in the cafeteria at the nursing home on christmas day. conversed with a woman who didnt recognize us. told her again and again about our plans for the holiday just so she could feel our attention. just to fill her with a few more fleeting moments of love. even if she couldnt hold them for long.
at least thats what i remember. maybe the table i can see in my mind never existed. maybe we sat by her bed. maybe it was really passover, the springtime flowers just budding on the trees. i dont know whats true. what really happened. but somehow i learned how much of us lives in our memories. how much stays with us and how much is a story we tell about ourselves. to ourselves.
i remember your bed. high up off the ground like a carriage. cling to snapshots of the way you touched me. cooed your affection. i remember kissing you. telling you i love you. but these are only memory now.
its been almost a year since we last spoke. those last fleeting moments of love. i am still piecing myself back together. meaning i am still remembering. my memories of you are paper boats drifting away in the breeze. this is as close to them as i will ever be again. these are their final moments in plain view. after this the horizon takes us. after this we will be just a story i tell myself.
Marshall "Gripp" Gillson is a nerd by day and a poet by day also. He has been an active slam poet since 2008, representing six different venues in four different states in national competition. He was a National Poetry Slam finalist as a member of the 2016 House Slam team and placed 15th in the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam. He was also a member of the winning team at the 2016 Vox Pop poetry slam tournament. His work has been featured by "Button Poetry", "SlamFind", "Everyday Feminism", "Maps for Teeth", the depression-themed anthology "Light as a Feather", and several self-published chapbooks.