Memory gathers the fruit beneath the tree,

puts it in a paper bag and brings it down to work,

where it waits around rotting. Memory unplugs the system.


Memory can function as a list of things to do

with every bone in your body.


Memory makes the snow fall until your house is gone.


Memory can fill up your brain with another brain

or else what might look like a large brain in the woods.

Memory loves to hunt mushrooms in the woods.


Memory knows there’s no perfect silence,

but memory’s silent. Who grows your fingernails? 


Michael Hettich’s books of poetry include Like Happiness (Anhinga, 2010) and The Animals Beyond Us (New Rivers Press, 2011). His new book, Systems of Vanishing, won the 2013 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry and will be published in April, 2014.