Friday, July 2, 2021

The Memory Restorer

2 July 2021

The memory restorer comes at you with her paintbrush dipped in pastels, reminding you that edges need to blur to appear true. To see clearly is to acknowledge the tears in a screen door, or rust making lace of a truck’s grill. Make hay while the sun shines seems pre-capitalist, as now it’s made at all hours, including those without sun. A cargo plane ditched last night off the island. “This was the very helicopter that picked up two pilots, straps still wet with sea water.” Local news turns its bad microscope on the seat the rescuer sat in, the belt the swimmer dangled from. All that’s missing is ocean, a 737, and lots of cargo. To crop the photo is a form of forgiveness, or else the other way around, where to forgive is not to forget but to cut like a ribbon in front of a new drugstore in a freshly paved parking lot. The local functionary wields enormous scissors, and all we get is a glossy brochure about the mountains and the rain. To edit is to magnify, or else to lose. She would write a no, then follow up with a heart. The theorist sees two things at once and can’t—at first—pull them apart. Yellow twine ties the yellow canvas roof of a parked boat to a plant above the sidewalk. The choices are to cancel or to save; my software offers to rescue my words without leaving them wet. The books are still the books, he says, but their author’s been canceled. Like a check, it did its work and returns as proof of our voyage. I still find my mother’s checks in my desk, the ones she wrote during her last days in her house. Alternative checks, with other names. Checks with notes at the bottom, inside jokes to self that arrive to my-self two decades on. These pieces of bluish paper are not restorative, but assure me the past did exist, if only for the moments it took to sign a check before forgetting your own name. The better to forgive our debts.

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