Make your daily monument the Ego,
use a masochist’s epistemology
of shame and dog-eared certainty
that others less exacting might forgo.

If memory’s an elephant, then feed
the animal. Resist revision: the stand
of feral raspberry, contraband
fruit the crows stole, ferrying seed

for miles … No. It was a broken hedge,
not beautiful, sunlight tacking
its leafy gut in loose sutures. Lacking
imagination, you’ll take the pledge

to remember – not the sexy, new
idea of history, each moment
swamped in legend, liable to judgment
and erosion; still, an appealing view,

to draft our lives, a series of vignettes
where endings could be substituted –
your father, unconvoluted
by desire, not grown bonsai in regret,

the bedroom of blue flowers left intact.
The room was nearly dark, the streetlight
a sentinel at the white curtain, its night
face implicated. Do not retract

this. Something did happen. You recall,
can feel a stumbling over wet ground,
the cave the needled branches made around
your body, the creature you couldn’t console.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Erin Belieu's poem Georgic on Memory

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