The Mirage Of Memory


What does a woman remember
when chemo subdues one cancer
and side steps another, when hair blossoms
on the bald head but balance wilts slowly
causing her to fall on the small sofa, her breath
caught after a few moments, the shock fading?

She thinks of a street in Spain, traveled once by Don Quixote;
and of peppers hanging from the porch. How they catch the wind and twirl,
never losing their grip, a gypsy finesse
that draws the eye and prompts the tongue
to crave their ravishing spice. She wants to roam the field
where they ripen, where they first bloom
as death-white flowers and then burst
into the life blood of Lérida. And with the windows open, the wind

thawing her stiff back, she breathes in that Summer spent
along the Spanish hillside, desperate now to slip
out of her body becoming
sheer sun and shadow that morph
into a dancer’s shoe, an innkeeper’s daughter
arching her slippered foot in the morning light.

4 replies on “The Mirage Of Memory”

Hi Michael

Thanks so much for reading and commenting on this poem. I deeply appreciate it; and it’s good to know the images are precise and work!

Again, thank you
my best



As fine as anything you have written and you have written some powerfully moving poems.
This one knows, sees, feels. You bring the screen to life. Those red peppers put tears in
my eyes. Every word, every image finds a home in the reader’s heart, mind and soul.

I have come to expect only the best from your pen and yet the power and the beauty
of this one overwhelms.



Hi Sarah

Your kind words and beautiful comment touch me deeply!! This poem was written sometime ago and recently revised. It is based on my dear friend (who passed away in 2010) from Brain cancer and who had previously suffered though breast cancer. When she just thought she had conquered one kind another developed. But like the character in the poem, she was resolved to fight until the end. And part of that, was drawing strength from memories of when she felt alive and able to dance in the wind and as they say –seize the day”. An aspect of those memories was re-imagining her trip to Spain where she explored the beautiful region of Lerida, (known for its cultivation of red peppers) and also the various dances associated with the culture and country. I reference ,in this poem, the balled known as “Don Quixote” where one of the main characters, an innkeeper’s daughter, gives a tour de force dance scene, again alive with passion and power. And I think the character in this poem wanted to relive her vacation there and through the illusion of memory and the will of the heart, change figuratively into that dancer underscored by the background countryside of peppers and the street where they dried and prepared them to sell. An underlining of spice and taste that not only spoke of making the tongue alive but also the human soul.

Again, thank you for your wonderful comment, it touches deeply and means alot!!
Take care


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