I reach for my yellow sweater. It bursts
into flame. Anything I remember
burns again. Recipes from Nana’s walnut box,
father’s letters, every photograph: all
the same black exhalation—
the remains of everything consumed
coat the remains of everything spared.
Memories reduced to images without
objects to anchor them hover
in the space between this morning—
when each room stood intact—
and now, a time without geography.
Nothing ties me to the past,
no ancestral portraits, no letters
in a watery, neat hand urging
goodness, steadiness, obedience.
All the old imperatives
curl in the lingering heat.