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Man Without Memory

Robert Boates
From:   The afterlife. Toronto: Seraphim Editions. 1998.

Watching poplars sweep the sky
dahlias withering in a garden,
two flamingos in tableau.
I know nothing of this place
or of seasons.
When you enter the room I forget
the world outside. I check
my watch; I have been awake
two minutes and must write
it down. You are the first
person I have ever seen,
ever held, ever spoken to.

You produce a diary and a pen.
In the book are entries
by my hand, but I did not write
them; I have never seen this book
before, never written a single word
anywhere.

You press me on the penmanship
which we both recognize,
and I reiterate, to distraction:
I have never seen the book before.
I have never seen you before this moment.
I know nothing of nurses or illness.

I check my watch: I have been awake
two minutes. I don't remember
your arrival. Before me
is a deck of cards laid out on a bed.
Someone is playing Patience.

Again you ask about the journal,
lined with scores of music.
This enrages me for I leave never
written or conducted though you
assure me once I sang. I know
nothing of song or supplication.

I check my watch against yours: I have
been awake for only two minutes;
1 have just been born: Hello
Hello, 1 love you.


Robert Boates's works copyright © to the author.


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