The Forgetting Curve

September 30, 2014 § 1 Comment

Forgetting is less linear
than exponential; it starts out
fast, racing with time, then
slows, thins out to nothing,
leaves behind a kernel
of knowledge that will inevitably
get stuck under your tongue
when you try to spit it out,
years later. Names, formulas,
directions, they all disappear
within the first day – some
syllables within the first
twenty minutes – but the
strangest things stay for longer,
so that I cannot remember
the sound of your voice, only
the insistent curve of
your hands over your chest,
final and certain. It’s the
time of the year when I get
out all the pictures
of people and places that
are gone, and looking at them
I can almost see the desert
sky the way it looked five
years ago, taste the ice
cream we ate on our first
boat ride. I do not know
where these memories will be
tomorrow, treacherous
as the ground in my mind
has become, but I wonder if
people would spend longer
telling each other goodbye,
pressing their cheeks into hair,
memorizing the exact contour
of eyelids and freckles, if they
knew that memories, too,
were faithless.

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