The art of forgetting would have to rest on a rhetoric of extinction: writing to extinguish – the contrary of making an archive.

– Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting

You are nostalgic for very little beyond the birches of eastern Polish forests, how they scrape your shoulders as you dash through them, minor wounds you refuse to clean.

You had early only certain understandings of discomfort, paradise, animals, and heroes.

Your memory remains an embarrassment of fruits soon to be fermented, soft peaches to leave in the sun and watermelons to slice up tenderly.

Tracing laps around this decay marks an inquiry only too happy to never be resolved.

You blunt the edges of your tool against your bookshelves soon to splinter.

Who ever built more miniature cities that lasted only till the rain?

You set gently any recollections of your first employment deep in the Stark County water table, hoping to imbibe them in some eventual form that will wash your organs.

You were known for devouring plenty of blueberry muffins in the back corner by the freezer.

Recently you look forward to tomato soup, a bicycle ride, and going to bed early on a Saturday night.

This, over recalling Saturday mornings when your knowledge of light and of war ran somehow parallel.

For now you need enough sleep to trust no other archive but your own, the one that disobliges anyone of caring about its maintenance and/or disintegration.

Halfway there you knew you would recall walking down Overbrook Drive to the corner store for candy with Randon, Donny, and Nick.

And while you fear the daily dismantling of your archive, you can laugh at such extinction in the form of hiccups that last for hours.

That quick, acrid smoke after the tiny explosion on your cousin’s driveway still surrounds you.

You exhaust yourself writing, recording, liking, and linking but you share few finds with anyone, nor do you ever need to sleep due to this particular reciprocation.

You read all of the books you received from B.D. Lee Elementary’s Scholastic Book Club twice once everyone began telling you how good your hand was.

You pay no attention to her eyes.

Natalie and Tiffany, maybe Ashley and Joy as well, had plenty of these.

When you write to produce and not to extinguish, to substantiate and not extricate, you ultimately recognize no difference in the impetus.

There were always a few games you could beat, and the one you always played upon feeling too little imaginative to go down the gully.

You wonder over breakfast about unfollowing him, and then unfollow him.

You traded something nearly every day with Matt in Mrs. Ford’s class.

You see no need to stop writing about those books, and then put them back on the shelf.

The only book you read repeatedly is the first one you never wanted to finish.

You see no need to stop posting quotes, and then delete each worthy as soon as you copy and paste it.

You have never worn a more appropriate outfit.

And you see no need to stop assuming their writing is comprised of only fragments to be repackaged with the blunt tool of your memory, until one morning you can assume this no longer.

A desire for air can only be described in so many ways.

You are now unwilling to gesture through a day of liking and following and repeating, unable to stomach any more hours spent clicking amidst the tired loathing in your skull.

It does not matter if you ever tried this, you may as well say you know the experience dearly.

Your memory has stopped seeking out those who used to know what you still do.

An afternoon across the street at Casey’s was never the same inside and out.

To complete the game of wrapping text around text is not an option, however much sleep you lose.

The stakes have certainly become much higher.

For it is only through crafting your tongue in that supposed rhetoric of extinction that you realize you ever had a memory in the first place.

Hasn’t the point always been the more you know, the more you treat yourself?

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