Editor’s note: “Auburn Memory” was nominated for the 2010/11 Best of the Net Awards.
Late and clear, not long enough ago.
The night on the college town
lit by so many timid sources,
so I thought I’d remember you
better. Memory thrives
when darkness hogs the light.
Two burgers set between us.
A blossom of laughter
between clerk and you,
gentle implosion, harsh ripple,
and you called me confused –
called it all a Southern thing – I am here
but not from here, much the way
I held a cup of soda or coke
never ever pop and sipped,
absorbed into my own
hollow question mark of a throat,
when it came to me
that this was not drinking but hoping
for more, many more nights
of streetlamps and puzzles.
Then looking away from you, staring
at the ice learning how to be water,
first trickle into the other,
blind to the cardboard bottom, the end.
You’ve kept snow in a filing cabinet
but say these times call for archives
less likely to melt. I’d tend to your snow depository
but I am now alive in territory
free of weather stripping framing doorframes.
Here, blizzards thrive only in eyes
and nip their way to lips. I try to believe
you were born here, you who seem born
to fight pecans and pralines and other
things we never pronounce
Snow molds people. Understand
how my snow angels told me how to be.
I dreamed it never stopped snowing.
See: nuclear winter. See
also: impact winter. Refer to:
You’ve kept it.
Is it really packed
in some file box, fire-proof but rusting
from the inside out? That would be you,
cataloging my hunger
and offering it to the sun.
Originally from Nebraska, Katie Berger currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at the University of Alabama.