I thought you were an anchor in the drift of the world;
but no: there isn’t an anchor anywhere.
You aren’t forgotten. How could so much of us ever be?
When you left this life, an anchor dropped. Time swirled past, and who-
we-remembered-you-as worked itself free. But even if current carried your memory
off, tide brought you back: we forget a little, then remember more. And through
that give and take, you stay right here. The only thing that slips downstream
is the way we remember you. All we need is to narrow our vision—
to focus on who we are — and back you come, perfect, as if in a dream:
one hand lifted in a wave. You remember us, right? Nothing is forgotten,
nothing. And how could it be? If we forgot you, we’d be lost. Never
mind that other shore where we supposedly go, and you’re supposed to be
waiting. In this world — this world — we have to have you, have to remember.
Why can’t life stop? Why does it try to pull everything, even you, away? We
stay here, where the anchor dropped, and watch the memory of you (who
we are — what else?) drift out to sea. We can’t forget you.
Daniel Wolff’s The Names of Birds is forthcoming from Four Way Books. His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Paris Review and TLR
Read Wolff’s essay on William Bronk here.