What if one day you forgot everything?
What if the distant memories became too distant?

Maybe they’d flicker out like apartment lights in the city.
Suddenly, one at a time.
Those that last the longest
Akin to the night owls of suburbia—
Those that endure through the ever-deepening darkness of the dusk.
Thick night smothers the dimmer glows.

Or maybe like when parchment-pressed lilacs lose their page.
The cherished pickings wilt
And petals drop from the text-laden sheets.
Gently they float to waiting earth
Leaving the stem bare
No longer whole, no longer full.

Perhaps they leave in the manner that riverbeds form.
Gradually, over many years.
Bits slip downstream, as the flow eats away at the bank.
Erosion takes its course.
Nature makes its mark.
And the riverbed deepens.

Maybe it’s like notes from a hole in your pocket.
They slip out and you don’t even know.
You forget that there was anything there to remember.
Or maybe you reach down to find them and you panic.
Something should be there, but you don’t know where it is.
Or what it was.

Or maybe like a thief.
Stealing the precious memories that we hold.
Stealing the past.
Stealing children’s names.
Stealing life.
Stealing breath.
But it can never quite steal love.

Or perhaps there is no thief.
I’d like to hope there’s only a collector,
A grandfather,
Gentle and wrinkled,
Who swoops down and collects the fallen remembrances.
He gathers them in trembling arms and stores them in a box
And they wait for their possessor to return.

And as the last colors of sunset trickle into the horizon
The angel passes over in a final flourish—a burst of light.
And the collector’s box is relinquished to its possessor.
And every light is restored
Every petal replaced
Every memory reborn.