2022 Issue  >  Poetry  >  I wear You to forget

Summer.jpg
Artwork by
Jesse Lee Kercheval

I wear You to forget

Kelsey Bigelow

The longer it’s been

the less I know You

and about six feet down my core

this is an intentional forgetting

because it’s easier to enjoy my days

if I forget I don’t have a mother

 

I wear You around my neck

to remind myself 

 

that Your favorite color and birthstone 

were both emerald

You loved Mother’s Day 

more than Your wedding  

and that it’s okay to enjoy my days again

as Your memories clear

to make room for life after You

 

See

I wear You

so I’m allowed to forget

 

To create the myth 

that You were never here

letting the messiness of grief

attempt a separation between

the desire to forget and the desire to remember

 

because the longer it’s been

the less I know You

and it’s easier to enjoy my days 

if I forget I don’t have a mother

 

At least Your symbol is real

while I wonder if I ever actually had a mother

If I did

I’d remember the sound of her off-key karaoke 

and her short arms would be more than picture hugs

 

I wear You around my neck

to remember to forget

that I don’t have a mother

and it’s okay that the longer it’s been

the less I know You

Kelsey Bigelow is a professional poet who graduated from UW-Platteville in 2017. She has since self-published her debut chapbook, Sprig of Lilac, in 2018, released a spoken word album, Depression Holders and Secret Keepers, in 2021, and has been published in Backchannels Journal and Z Publishing House. Find Kelsey: kelkaybpoetry.com

 Jesse Lee Kercheval is a writer, translator, and graphic artist. Her recent books include the short story collection Underground Women and  La crisis es el cuerpo, a bilingual edition of her poetry, translated by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, published in Argentina by Editorial Bajo la luna. Her recent graphic narratives, comics and art have appeared in Waxwing, The Quarantine Public Library, On the Seawall, Sweet Lit, and New Letters.