the engine of our memory by Zeke Sanchez, Review by Margot Brown

                                                                                                
                                                                        the engine of our memory                                                            
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                        this road turns
                                                                        near the lake where doves
                                                                        this road turns on the lake
                                                                        where mourning doves 
                                                                        startled whirr
                                                                        above the quiet inundation 

                                                                        why forgotten nearly
                                                                        grandmother’s grave
                                                                        near the water knee-deep
                                                                        now among cottonwoods
                                                                        how the birds coo and warble

                                                                        disconsolate flood waters
                                                                        beneath the wheels rising
                                                                        of our Ford Torino old car
                                                                        submerged the heat of our
                                                                        lives the lake made whole
                                                                        to higher ground the engine was

                                                                        ___________
                                                                        Zeke Sanchez

                                                                     

                                                                   
                                                                           *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

                                                                             Review by Margot Brown 

I hope there’s some agreement that a poet’s intent isn’t the only way to engage with and find meaning in a poem. I don’t presume to know the poet’s intent in “the engine of our memory”, but I can describe what it calls up for me.

Memory often feels dream-like; as if the person remembering is ‘under water’. Within this liquidity, memory undulates like sea weed and plants that grow and move hypnotically in the currents. Under water, they look like they are extending themselves to connect – like discrete thoughts from a larger picture attempting to engage with each other in order to be realized. Sometimes these thoughts connect and reveal themselves to the one struggling to remember. At least as often, they remain discrete, floating in their solitary selves.

One’s vision under water isn’t always clear, either. Although the water is often pristine, sand or silt on the floor of the aqueous body sporadically and spontaneously unsettle through natural activities, temporarily clouding one’s vision, until, once again undisturbed, clarity returns.

This is how I experience “the engine of our memory”. The words undulate, dream-like, as thoughts about memories seek to reunite with themselves. The writer has given us not only parts of his memories but also his sense of how it actually feels to reacquire and connect these pieces that move beneath the surface of his mind.

Comments are closed.