Margarita Memory

Girl and Goat 3

By Larry Duncan

I don’t remember the first thing I did this morning. I turned off my
alarm. I know that because it is not on and I can see myself doing it, rolling over on my side and reaching out, not knowing time, or myself, only the sound, and my hand reaching for silence. But is this the memory from today or some other day, or no day, only a recollection recreated from the substance of dozen days waking, hundreds, thousands. Was it dark? Was there blue light through the curtains? Did you roll away and ask, “What about the oranges?”, as if not awake and did I dress in the dark to ensure you didn’t?

I don’t remember my father’s face, only that sometimes he wore a beard.

I don’t remember if I kissed you first, or if you leaned in, calling me
forward. We were on the couch I think, but it was on the opposite side of the room or did my mind reverse the image as if viewing it in a mirror.

I don’t remember the first time I saw my mother. Was she in the kitchen
by the stove or the sink? Did she wear a red bandana over her hair? Was it long or short? It must have been black or was it already starting to gray?

I don’t remember if I was breast fed or given a bottle.

I don’t remember the last time I saw my younger sister alive. I do
remember a photograph her hand on her chest as she opened cards the day of her graduation.

I do not remember who took the picture.

I do not remember if she was smiling. I do remember she was beautiful
and by the time I got to the hospital her hand was cold and green.

I do not remember if any of this is true.

I do not remember true.

I do not remember the last thing I said to my mother. I remember we
were in Savannah. I remember I had to borrow money for the rental car. I remember the heat. I remember going out for a cigarette after a round of margaritas at a bar whose name eludes me and my oldest sister came out to join me and said, “We all thought you had wandered off?”

I do not remember if I actually drank margaritas that night.

I do not remember the last time I drank a margarita. The last time I
drank a margarita, you and I were on the patio at Stadium, smoking cigarettes. I only had a sip of yours while I was waiting for the waitress to bring me another beer. It was too sour. It tasted like tears. And you said, “Don’t you remember?”

I do not remember when it became so hard to remember or when writing
it all down became a way to forget.

“Margarita Memory” previously appeared Emerge Literary Journal, Winter 2012 and is available in Larry’s Chapbook Crossroads of Stars and White Lightning.


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