The grains of snow gathered and tightly packed in foil, I haul them across
the field where the old blizzard persists as bits of loosely woven gauze.
I haul the snow to a faraway part of the brain that contains the steps
leading up from the BMT subway at Beverly and Church, ca. 1943.
Haul it yet further to where I smell the fumes from the station"s black
furnace, which is several miles from the smell of wet wool and yet more from
the hiss and crackle of whatever fueled that furnace.
By the time I"ve borne it out to the street-- where a different snow has
buried the cars so
I can"t find my father between the dazzling white mounds, let alone our
footsteps as we trudged home through the storm-- the snow I gathered has
melted and been replaced by flowers from another field.
The steps resemble the Eiffel Tower slipped from a groove in a memory column
so totally removed that I"m talking to a different version of my father, much
younger. . .
All of which proves the latest neuroscientific claims that forgetting is a
failure to fuse the fragments of a memory widely dispersed over different
parts of the brain.
Yet I am sad that when my father, now nearly 90, asks if I remember the
occasion of the buried car, all I can say is no. Theory aside, the failure
is one more sign of the rapidly expanding space between us.
>From his kitchen window I can see, albeit faintly, the Gulf of Mexico"s surf
rising onto the Florida shore. The Gulf where soon his ashes will join the
ashes, by now widely dispersed, of my mother.