Billy Collins' Forgetfulness
by Mary Jo Bang
She reckoned the glow unknowable. Ham slung
in a hammock: memory is this half-moon.
Swooning, she excised the fourth level of Hell – Dante would do
and Louise needed kindling. So kind the boy
who had fired the party grill, bright buttons
on a blue smock. And
little salmon sandwiches, a fountain,
Melpomene in marble, a thoughtful dog.
The subsequent scenery, unbeckoned remembrance.
Hardly a tragedy, Ham winged in between swings.
It happens, certainty making a place for sentiment.
A cold mirror separated them, she in the near dark,
her hands held out.