Cremation of a Memory

published in The Texas Review, 2007, 28:136

Hollow marrow
Fragments       splinter
like chicken bone
jagged        in the throat
her fading image is painful
It chokes me
sharply
like pine needles
Sometimes her wry smile
leaps in and out
but I can no longer see her eyes
remnants of memories gather in an urn
on my mantel
a saucy laugh
a black and checkered dress
the birthmark under her left breast
Please tell me how to save the things
I’ve already forgotten.