Let me introduce myself.
I’m the Memory Collector, your companion and spirit guide.
Let’s unwind the clock, peel the past.
The reflections you give me, conjure, surrender from within,
I throw into the fire, the cauldron of resolutions.
They burn into embers and flickers that evolve into butterflies.
They flutter away, free and heal of all strongholds
so they can revisit and reinvent who you are.
Let the dance begin.
I’m in my mother’s womb in Paris.
She’s scared. I want to get out.
I’m three years old in Terracina, Italy, sharing a room with four girls.
My grandfather visits from Greece.
He holds my brother on his lap
and says, a boy at last, I’m not impressed with girls.
I’m four years old, in Monte Carlo.
My mother takes me to school.
A pigeon poops on my scarf.
She reassures, it brings good luck.
I’m five years old, in Karben, Germany
It’s Saint Nicholas day, my birthday.
Marieluise feeds me Lebkuchen, Stollen and Pfeffernüssen.
They taste like heaven.
I’m six years old in ballet class in Geneva, breaking my point shoes.
The Russian master ingrains in me the correlation
between pleasure and pain.
I now know the two centers sit next to each other in the brain.
I’m seven years old, in the Swiss Alps, making
snowmen, skiing, hunting for Easter eggs.
My mother laughs then says, your father can’t be left alone.
I’m eight years old, in the Jura mountain, in love
with my dog, playing chess with my dad.
I’m nine years old.
My grandmother takes me to the market in Tarragona
to buy the bitter and pungent quince she craves.
I’m ten years old.
My cousin drowns me in the beautiful blue waters
of the Spanish Mediterranean because I threw sand at him.
My head hits the hard bottom, all the air’s gone from my lungs.
My last thought is, no one knows I’m here.
I’m eleven years old.
My mother makes jam with apricots, strawberries, peaches and plums.
She’s filled the house with the intoxicating scent of gardenias.
My brother throws another temper tantrum.
I’m twelve years old in math class, mad with laughter.
I’m thirteen years old.
The Music Conservatory in Geneva is sheer magic,
an enchanted world I inhabit alone, the key to my soul.
My piano teacher has such faith in me.
I’m fourteen years old, between worlds.
My aunt married a fascist. He grabs my dad by the throat.
It’s the middle of the night. It’s loud. I can’t sleep.
I’m fifteen years old, in Northern Wales,
riding a fabulous horse along stunning steep cliffs,
racing him to full gallop in bewitching Celtic wind,
relinquishing cravings in the dust.
I’m sixteen years old, off to San Diego.
My mother cries at the Paris airport.
She breaks my heart but the pull is stronger.
I’m learning to let go, trust the ripeness of the moment.
That everything happens at the right time.
To appreciate what I have.
I’m connected to my bones,
filled with the richness and texture of space, uplifted,
vibrating, reverberating. I become the sound
of Tibetan bells, echoing and hovering in the cosmos.
I perceive the whole world below, life in suspension.
© Hélène Cardona
From Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016); Hélène Cardona’s bio is HERE.