I Consider Whether Shipping Your Memory Home Would Be Too Costly

Poem by Sarah Ann Winn


I take your memory out to the garage
to weigh it. The scale for this is ageless and large,
brings to mind counters and bulk foods.
Its shadow stands for years, swaying,
its red needle uncertainly bouncing when jostled.

A hidden spring reveals a drawer underneath, case for
a little set of weights in various shapes.
One, a net of light on water cast in lead,
another, a set of miniature music box gears,
each the weight of a different song, all in bronze,

sawtoothed as if meant for small lumber mills,
I place your memory on the cradle, light as light,
which also has weight and substance — matter.
I add twenty snowflakes, winter preserves.
I tap the meter, which trembles, add a slice of lemon

from a cold tea cup, hum as much as I can remember
from When the Roll Is Called up Yonder. Finally,
I open your last letter, unbend the handwriting
so each word straightens into a binary barcode of blue,
dole these sticks to the tray. If it balances, you’ll go.


The 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry
FINALIST

We are pleased to announce this poem as a finalist for the 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry, honoring the independent press’ best poems and hybrid works of the year. The winners are selected by an external panel that judges all pieces blind and chooses the full list of 12 finalists from hundreds of entries. Alternating Current does not determine the final outcome for the judging; the external judges’ decisions are final.


SARAH ANN WINN’s first book, Alma Almanac, won the 2016 Barrow Street Book Prize, and was published by Barrow Street Press. She is the author of five chapbooks. The most recent, Exhibition Pamphlet to the Grimm Forest Open Air Museum, is forthcoming from Yellow Flag. Her poems, prose, and hybrid works have appeared in Five Points, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Massachusetts Review, Passages North, and Quarterly West, among others. Visit her at bluebirdwords.com or follow her at @blueaisling.