Doors of Memory by Lin Rolens

This one by Lin Rolens feels like a conversation, honest and human in the best way.


Photo Courtesy Brian Landis

Lin Rolens

Doors of Memory

I remember the taste of Emily’s mother’s cassoulet,
the salt of my lover’s neck, stolen
raspberries warmed by the sun.

Some memories begin in scent — Evening in Paris
my first venture into the wiles of womanhood,
damp eucalyptus as we walk to school,
Marrakesh kitchens at dusk as I walk twisting
medina alleys. And smoke, before flames
transform the Santa Barbara sunset
into a roiling Turner canvas.

Others I struggle to hold — my rotund great-uncle’s arms
as I reach for Christmas ornaments and
fling them to the floor shrieking with glee.
I reach for the moment
in front of Notre Dame when my eyes catch
on a young attorney hurrying by and we stand dumb
until we begin to breathe and speak.

Memory won’t spare me
watching the graph of my father’s pulse flatline.
Or the beautiful collarbone and graceful hands
of the man who will betray me absolutely,
Or a stranger’s voice that tells me to be quiet
if I know what’s good for me.

Eyes closed, I am given — dawn,
the circle of Stonehenge at daybreak, long tongues
of shadow dwarfing the looming stones,
trees with crowns of the same new red leaves
I’ve startlingly grown this spring,

I’m grateful for the rush and renewal
through all these doors to interior landscapes,
for the chance to forgive all —
even myself.


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