11 May 2019

“Memory” from Phoenix: Transformation Poems by Jessica Goody Guest Post!

“Memory” from Phoenix: Transformation Poems by Jessica Goody

I write to make myself heard and understood, to share my sense of self and the world around me, and poetry is the most accurate means I know of to describe what goes on inside my mind.
When something affects me deeply and I find myself unable to keep from thinking about it, putting it on paper clears my head. Ideas are everywhere; it’s just a matter of paying attention to things around you. It’s much harder to find the right words to express your thoughts. I look for the stories within a scene, the inner thoughts behind the images.

This poem, “Memory” was inspired by personal experience: When I lived in New York, I volunteered with an arts program for senior citizens with Alzheimer’s Disease. Working with them, I saw firsthand how perfectly lucid, funny, articulate, talented people would suddenly forget their surroundings, their memories, their own names. Some of them had been married for upwards of forty years, which made me wonder what it must be like to wake up next to someone you have known for so long and not be able to recognize them; being forced watch to the person you love become a stranger.


Everything he loves about her is gone.
Her face is frozen, blank as new paper,
once-dark eyebrows faded to whiteness.
Her mouth drags now, the pinpricks of

dimples no longer flickering in the curve
of her cheek. Her skin is slack and creased
with wrinkles, the joints stiff and swollen.
Her long fingers gnarled and crone-cold,

legs etched with blue veins mapping their
decades together. Every day he visits,
waiting to see some spark of memory
in her eyes; the knowledge of his presence,

forgotten yet familiar. He holds her cold
hands, scrubbing them between his own
to warm them, and links their fingers,
stroking her knuckles with his thumb.

Jessica Goody is the award-winning author of Defense Mechanisms: Poems on Life, Love, and Loss (Phosphene Publishing, 2016) and Phoenix: Transformation Poems (CW Books, 2019). Jessica’s writing has appeared in over three dozen publications, including The Wallace Stevens Journal, Reader’s Digest, Event Horizon, The Seventh Wave, Third Wednesday, The MacGuffin, Harbinger Asylum and The Maine Review. Jessica is a columnist for SunSations Magazine and the winner of the 2016 Magnets and Ladders Poetry Prize. A fifth-generation New Yorker, she currently lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry with an exuberant poodle named Coco.

Jessica’s poetry collections Defense Mechanisms: Poems on Life, Love, and Loss and Phoenix: Transformation Poems are available on Amazon.



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