The Earliest Memory
by Margaret Almon

The earliest memory is olive brown rockweed,
ungainly, but as its own life preserver, floats
with bladdered fronds.  The earliest memory succeeds
even in ugliness.  Everyone has one.  No antidote,
even in forgetting, blotting, washing.  We can connive
but the earliest memory rises from in between
a rock and a hard place, stuck to a sieve’s
wires, undevoted, becoming whoever is next in line.

No searching for a grain in a beach’s multitude,
or among today’s catch stashed like bullion,
gradually stolen.  But how is the intruder?
Something is always left, but I want dominion,
or rlse who am I?  The earliest memory will be late:
jumps like a red fish being fed, returns like a sunset.


Printed by permission of the poet
Winner of the 2001 “Best Unpublished Poet in Pennsylvania”