A Poet Reflects

Reading the poem about the yew tree, I realize I do not recall the trees of my youth, the particular leafy shapes and blooming seasons and their     moist odors in the heat. I could look them up in a tree guide and mend the holes in my memory— but then it would not be my memory, it would be the guide’s.
—Reetika Vazirani, from “Reading the Poem about the Yew Tree” in White Elephants (Beacon Press, 1996)

Reading the poem about the yew tree,
I realize I do not recall the trees of my youth,
the particular leafy shapes and blooming seasons and their
     moist odors in the heat.
I could look them up in a tree guide
and mend the holes in my memory—
but then it would not be my memory,
it would be the guide’s.

—Reetika Vazirani, from “Reading the Poem about the Yew Tree” in White Elephants (Beacon Press, 1996)

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