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Oblivion Care

[Note: This seemed a more accurate term, than "Memory Care."

I was thrilled and honored when this poem won the Jabberwock Review Nancy Hargrove Editors' Prize for Poetry , Summer / Fall 2020. (For money! ;-) ]

Censorship, crammed prisons, unmarked boneyards,

the garrote, border guards under orders, shooton sight:

God knows each tyrant tries. But can’t

smash every single whisper from each tongue or torch

all surviving cardboard shoeboxes tied in twine and shoved

behind Sunday china, with their family freight

of, say, photos of young lost uncles grinning, fists high, at picnics

decades back, and dog-eared begrimed identity cards

for causes since reduced to bloody smithereens.

A despot could staff the National Library with soldiers

to keep generations away from the books. Could let

galleries of Bosch, Velázquez, Gentileschi, Goya

molder flyspecked and leak-wrecked, and meanwhile

sequester history texts from schools, destroy archives

—you get my point, attempt to obliterate—all

of which seems right now, I’m sorry, so frankly

irrelevant next to what our mother,

no longer holding her mind,

loses. Where’s

the resistance? When

do we rise up to stop it?

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