June 26, 2010 – The Memorial

I awoke to the smell of coffee; an apropos detail for such a morning.  It was a rare occurrence—the aromatic coup of coffee brewed—that signaled your presence in our home.

In the living room my mother anxiously rifles through a box of photographs, searching desperately for a picture of you taken one summer under the big tree in our backyard, surrounded by your daughters and grandchildren.  We’re positive it was stolen but avoid naming names.  I lament how childish and fucked up things are, but I’m careful not to articulate exactly what is meant by ‘things.’  Instead I bristle at the thought of the memory thief laughing at my mother’s expense—for any reason.

In a final exercise of hope I’m sent to assist my father in procuring more photographs for sorting.  I stand at the foot of the pull down latter ready to receive whatever time capsules descend from the darkness.  I hear my name and turn my face upward to be met by a rain of latent images.  As I stoop to gather the scattered photos I stop to ponder how the molecular structure of a photograph could ever hope to compare to the molecular experience of a memory.

Just before we leave for your memorial I ask why only one of your sons will be in attendance.  The answer startles me and I’m inundated with the heavy sense of your humanity twenty-eight years too late.  On the ride home I soothe my disappointment by reflecting on the events at home; these were your true memorial not half an hour of gospel.

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