LETHES I

Your memory moves from I to we and back again less than, in the end, making the I a we. These are the pronouns at work, non-oppositional, non-collective, as forgetting remains an individual pursuit to the end, but only individual as such pursuit, dissolving as it does into a collective forgetting far, far beyond the frameworks and bounds of collective memory. You see the cat creeping in the sun, you remember it a minute later wondering if it is still there or who else saw it or if anyone saw you watching it, and you forget it all, returning the remembrance to its right space between no one and everyone.

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Using your memory for exformation admits your memory is exformation, superfluous, especially as discarded points and floating context, all taken for granted, exformation rests before forgetting, less powerful than forgetting while possibly superior to it as memory forgotten and remembered again though not recognized, never spoken or fully exhumed, never less than idealized and thus, in communication, often nothing more than mistaken.

Your memory writes when it is able to tear away from reading other people, a break that can be a few seconds or minutes even, until it complains against the deep breath of your forgetting, and moves back to the shallows of others’ language.

Then your memory is the tragedy, and your forgetting lines the inverse of that tragedy which is not quite a joke but a device of relief touched off by mouthing tragedia, a word so common in a language so Slavic spurred from a historicism so solemn, monumentalistic, and internalized that when let loose in antiquarian catalogs of pedestrian exclamations here and there, a few mornings a week, it comes to describe the interminable traffic jam, cold chicken soup on Sundays, daily queue cuts and shoulder knocking, and that courtyard entrance with florescent lit concrete so migraine-heavy that the Żołądkowa bottles punctuating its Saturday morning rank seem entirely natural as empty ciphers, tragedia – or even better, masakra – in a language flinging far its own forgetting.

Your forgetting is a valence that exists in double, one side limping with split shins down to the reservoir, cold and clear on a day you think must be for mourning but should in fact just be for a long span of silence, and the other side lurking in the hills where it reserves its own absence in advance around a fire encircled by a small, stout wall built of all your letters, emails, diaries, journals, phones, laptops, essays, book reports, birthday cards, tablets, notebooks, inscriptions, every document you have ever signed, all the margins you have ever annotated, one by one encased in thick layers of pink wax, balanced behind a gigantic pile of apples you have just picked that are, indeed, ready to be burned.

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