by Jad Josey
She cradled the box of shoes
(a gift for her mother)
Thin tissue paper flapping in the offshore breeze
a brown gull, a wedge of egret, a race of clouds above
And the late-winter sun touched her face
In that short-breath, heart-pulse way
While I promised myself I would always remember.
But the truth
is that I will (likely, probably, most assuredly) not remember
Or the memory will be different than the way we
Hope to think about memory.
In that moment—
While the light strafed her face,
While she wore thin shadow-strands of hair across her cheeks,
And behind her smile
(behind the mirror of her mother’s white teeth)
The sea moved and moved
Beyond memory, beyond what memory ever hopes to be
—in that moment, the shoes were new
And the light was not
And I promised myself I would remember,
Promised to forgive myself
Jad Josey resides on the central coast of California. When he isn’t writing, he spends as much time in the ocean as possible. His work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Passages North, CutBank, Little Fiction, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. Read more of his work at http://www.jadjosey.com or reach out on Twitter @jadjosey.