38. victoria memorial

It feels like I’ve been here forever, or at least long enough for a sentence to form.

I close my eyes and I am in London, the foggy Thames swallowing me;
I am running my fingers over bronze placards, sauntering
through the halls of the museum,
telling you everything I have ever known about petticoats
and poetry and most other things I have made up
as if the second I stop talking I will forget
that you are Dove soap and Listerine,
just like my father before he drank his coffee
in the morning,
when I lived with my father,
when I lived at home

here I lose my companions in the shuffle, in the loitering trance
of history I always get folded into at these places, and I turn my head
in that off-cuff halfway tilt you only use with confidantes
to tell you did you know that I was born in the Smithsonian,
had sleepovers in the bunk beds of the astronaut displays,
and other incredulous certitudes that are a hundred percent
true and false,
but you are not here in the Dream Time,
of course, the game is over now,
I pull my shawl tighter around me and move on.

I smell something but I don’t know what it is or why I know it,

and I would tell you, you have to know, that the loneliest nagging feeling is when you smell something that reminds you of someone you’ve forgotten, and you can’t remember who it is, or where you were, or why you’ve forgotten to remember.

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