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Worn Memory - Laura Cyphers


picked up wind grasses quick and unreachable.

Like that girl, my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter.

How she was 11 years to my 8.

How I wanted to touch the soft

pastel of her shirt and its netting

around the tan of her shoulder.

How on the slide together, I flew

before my turn to get behind her,

to come down together in a girl mass

of legs and arms. The feather of her hair,

darker than mine, stuck to her face.

How I fell asleep in her bed

with my hand under her pillow,

a strand of her falling along my wrist.

How I can’t remember her name.

Memory, its own worn But also

Sticky masses,

the stuff of post-surgery, globs in metal

bowls gunky and untouchable.

Like me and dad’s girlfriend’s daughter

on the slide for long hours in the dark,

3 AM hungry and thirsty.

How there was nothing

to numb our own very needs.

How parents with bottles, were empty

clanging glass piles in the park

pill bottle maracas tucked in

pockets and under seats.

How the girlfriend’s name was Vivian.

How we all made it back alive.


Laura Cyphers is a graduate of Goddard College’s MFAW program. She lives in Tennessee and teaches and tutors writing when she can. When she can’t, she cleans, organizes, and does just about any odd job that will also afford her time to write.


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