Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"An Erasure Elegy For My Mother's Memory" by E.J. Schoenborn

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “An Erasure Elegy For My Mother's Memory” by E.J. Schoenborn, a performance poet currently living in St. Paul, Minnesota. Schoenborn’s poetry has been featured in FreezeRay Poetry, Rising Phoenix Review, Voicemail Poems, Runestone Literary Journal, and Sparks.

An Erasure Elegy For My Mother's Memory
E.J. Schoenborn
                                        --after Susana Cardenas-Soto
1
After track practice in 6th grade,
my mother forgot to pick me up after school.
I walked five miles home as the light died.
She says it's nothing, a momentary lapse,
nothing for me to worry about.

We forgive this forgetting
because it is all we know how to do.

We pray to God to fix this,
to let us know what is going on.
God says, inactive thyroid,
says multiple sclerosis,
says no medicine can cure this,
but pills can halt the progress.

My mother quits her job at the bakery
because she can no longer lift the cakes,
because her mind sometimes only exists
in snatches of time and conversations
if she forgets to take her medicine.

2
After
my mother forgot          me   
                                          the light died.
She says          nothing,
                                  worry about

                      this forgetting
because it is all we                       do.

We pray

God says

         no

My mother quits
because she         no longer
                                                  exists
in                               conversations
if she forgets to take her medicine.

3
                                              the light died.
She says
                                        worry about

                         this forgetting
because  


God  





                                           exists
  
                        to take her

Poet's Notes: I started writing the first part of this poem for my mother who lives with multiple sclerosis.  One of the symptoms if not treated is a deteriorating memory. After finishing the poem, I realized it was incomplete and began to erase portions of it to mirror our situation and how it has affected us. 

Editor’s Note:  I was quite moved by this elegy, even more so since I found out that it is autobiographical.  I was not familiar with the subtraction form of poetry until receiving this one but can readily see that the form is a good choice for an elegy.  The subtractions follow the deterioration of the speaker's mother mentally and physically both through the loss of words and the use of the resultant white space.  I made an editorial decision to forgo supplying an accompanying graphic for this poem, allowing the placements of the words and white spaces to have their full effects.

No comments:

Post a Comment

NO ANONYMOUS OR NEGATIVE COMMENTS, PLEASE. ONLY POSITIVE COMMENTS WITH ATTRIBUTION (YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS) WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR PUBLICATION. OUR MODERATORS WILL SCREEN OUT ALL COMMENTS THAT DO NOT MEET THESE CRITERIA. ALL COMMENTS ARE SCREENED.

If you wish to provide suggestions, feedback, or constructive criticism to the Songs of Eretz staff, please send your thoughts to Editor@SongsOfEretz.com. You may or may not receive a response, but your thoughts will be read.