WitGlass Original Poetry: “Shards of Memory”

This is my second original poem posted here on Wit.Glass. This one originated nearly two-and-a-half years ago as a poem, but the story it tells is more than twenty years old. It is a true story—as well as I am able to re-member the fragments that remain in my memory. I have also live-recorded a spoken word performance of the poem, on my podcast WitGlass Unfiltered, along with a review of an EP from One Big Dark Room—Lex Land’s new project—titled From Hell, With Love. Here is the link to the show: WitGlass Unfiltered - Episode 26.

Shards of Memory

Shards of memory stick in different places in my mind
Little slivers of time
Stuck like thorns beneath the skin
Little cactus spikes that hide
Undisturbed
Awaiting a little pressure
Or a microscopic thread to latch onto them
And bring them back to mind 

One shard:
An icy road
A brother driving
A younger brother
Out from mountains onto the plain
A passing pickup
So much larger than the car we are in
High up the woman sits behind the wheel
I can see her
Still today
Though somewhat blurred around the edges
I see her
From down below
From my bucket-style midsize-car passenger seat
I can still see her
Passing fast
Zero speed limit Montana interstate highway fast
I see her tailgate out in front
One car length
Two car lengths
Three car lengths
Four car lengths
Five car lengths
How many car lengths?
I see her tailgate wiggle
Then slide left and right
Left
Right
Left 
Right
In wider and wider arcs
Five car lengths
Four car lengths
I see the truck spin
Knowing I can do nothing I simply sit
My brother
My younger brother
“Behind the wheel
Driving
My younger brother
Calm
How can he be so calm?
When I look at him from my passenger seat
I’m thankful he’s driving
Calm
So calm
Three car lengths
I sit and watch
The truck
My brother
I don’t remember if I said anything
If I had, would it have done anything? (Did it, if I did?)
I don’t remember if I did
Two car lengths
The truck is spinning
My brother calm
I simply watch
One car length
The truck still spinning
The driver
A woman
Can I see her face?
Did I even look at her face?
In that moment of my own fear
Did I look to see hers?
I see the truck
Spinning
Facing backward
The wrong way
My brother calm
Still so calm
In the right lane
The truck spinning
My brother never slams the brakes
Calmly
Patiently
Watching
Waiting
The truck still spinning
Facing us
No car lengths
Our speed still high
My brother still calm
So controlled 
The truck spins down the highway in the same direction we travel
But now it is slower than we are
Facing the wrong way
In the left lane
The truck still spins
My brother calmly—so calmly—
Passes the truck
Our car in the right lane
Facing the right way
Under control
The truck in the left lane
Facing the wrong way
Out of control
Spinning behind us
We stay straight as the truck spins behind us
Into the snow bank on the right side of the road
The tailgate hits the snow bank and pushes deep
The truck stops
Appearing stuck
Then a moment later
The truck pulls out of the snow bank
Back onto the road
Icy road
My brother driving 
My younger brother
Along the plain

One shard of time forgotten now remembered
Disturbed
Soon it will be forgotten again
Undisturbed
Awaiting some small thing to bring it to mind
Disturbed again and remembered
This shard of memory sticks
Sometimes forgotten
Then remembered
Still just a fragment
A sliver of time