Securing a Memory
by Joan Colby

In the passenger seat
Also known as the suicide seat,
That was me. You were driving,
One hand on the wheel, the other
Holding me. I already knew how this
Would end, that it would indeed end
And it wouldn’t matter because I’d have
This memory. The pink sweater
I am wearing, fuzzy as how I feel
In this proximity to love. My own face reflected
In the side window while the dark
Landscape pours past, how we are not
Speaking in the immense blossom
That opens between us, night petals rank
And dangerous and seductive so that
My mouth tingles
Though we are not yet kissing,
Just driving, driving and I tell myself
Remember this moment, how it feels
Years into the future. This memory
Which settles on me like a hungry animal. You
Peripheral, to my left,
Left with its sinister connotations,
A profile. It’s not important
That we engaged like teeth on meat
Or sawed our bodies until like trees
We fell and fell and fell
Into that koan of presumed
Silence. In that deliberate memory
I painted on the walls of all the years to come
I am always seventeen.

SOURCE: “Securing a Memory” originally appeared in Homestead Review.

PHOTO: The author at 17.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, Gargoyle, Pinyon, Little Patuxent Review, Spillway, Midwestern Gothic, and others. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 17 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Three of her poems have been featured on Verse Daily and another is among the winners of the 2016 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. Her newest book, Carnival, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2016. She has another forthcoming from Kelsay Press in 2017 titled The Seven Heavenly Virtues. She is a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review. Visit her at or on Facebook or Twitter.