Turning Sixty

by Tom Bajoras

Turning sixty, some people
already suffer from lost memories;
my pain is having too many.

Five hellos for each goodbye.
People—layers deep—
on my shoulders,
on the roof of my car,
on the roof of my house,
twenty in each room.
Ten people in every dream,
ten dreams—that’s
a hundred people every night—
all telling me things I want to forget.

Under the weight of the memories
I wish I could become a diamond,
but instead I’m compressed into a shadow,
gray and infinitely thin.

Even if I am a diamond someday—
not for myself
but for my grandchildren’s grandchildren—
they can choose:
to cherish that stone
or throw it away and replace it
with one that has no memories yet.