Erika Luckert

The Forgetting Curve

By now, my memories are a slender deck
less tarot cards than flash cards

made before a quiz to quickly
shuffle through. A fire escape,

your winter bed, this checkered shirt,
a recipe, a poem or two. They say no child

recalls the lessons that they memorize
in school: the parts of a bridge

or a tree or a body are forgotten
in notebooks, closed away.

It’s true I’ve forgotten
your touch and your hands by now.

My own hands, I’ve learned, are no longer
the same, each cell that you knew

has died as well, and even muscle memory
doesn’t last this long. Every recollection

is not of you, but of the last time
I called that memory into mind,

which is to say every time I remember
what remains of you is less. When I grasp

at the space between thinking
and words, I wonder if this

might be anything like the way
that my other hands once touched you.

Erika Luckert is a writer from Edmonton, Canada, and a recipient of the 92Y/Boston Review Discovery Prize. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, and was nominated for the Canadian National Magazine Award in Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Denver QuarterlyBoston ReviewIndiana Review, CALYX, Room Magazine, Measure, Atticus Review, and others. Erika lives in New York City, where she teaches creative and critical writing. You can visit her website, here: