November's Ninth Poem

Pills and Purple-Striped Hat Boxes

My memories are packed away
in neat, purple-striped hat boxes.
She used to hold my hands
when my eyes were closed
and say, “Okay, time to get out
your hatbox.”

One morning I woke up with
my throat raw from memories
of a drive down country roads
I got out of bed, walked around
in circles, dug through my email
turned to Google trying to make
sense of this resurrected memory.
And when I couldn’t find my way
back to me, I threw the pills away instead

Now there’s a new pill that
erases traumatic memories
and no one will ever need
purple-striped hat boxes again.
The U.S. government wants
truckloads of it, so they can
give it to soldiers. Erase,
Send to War, Repeat. Without
a memory, there is no trauma.

Except the way that I still
wake up drenched in my sweat
in the middle of the night. Take
a deep breath, think of Jesus,
rise, robe, and rummage until
I find my hatbox and  pack everything
away where only my dreams,
or maybe some pills, can find it.