The past is the same as anything else—we built it
and now we can’t kill it. We keep lurching
at it with the scoring axe and connecting
with the walls instead. That punishing season—
the hall light’s hiss, the door off its hinge—
I’m ready to stop remembering. The trouble is
there’s nobody else who can do it. A memory
isn’t a metal grille drawn down on a storefront
at night, then unlocked in the morning.
You can’t fake sick, call in. There’s no other person
to wake in the slate dawn, drive into downtown,
locate the recess, collapse the gate, maneuver
the thing out of view. There’s only you.
Natalie Shapero's "Fake Sick" can be read in the print edition of The Arkansas International 3.
Natalie Shapero is the Professor of the Practice of Poetry at Tufts University and an editor at large of the Kenyon Review. Her poetry collections are Hard Child and No Object.