Life After Falling While Filming a Teen Drama

photo by author

It was a stunt
we hadn’t practiced
that erased
my memory at 30
and left me wondering
why I was wearing
a cheer uniform in the ER

Then there was a doctor
who said short
and long term
amnesia
and what
was there to do
but go home

to a stranger’s apartment
with an unknown
man who said
he was my friend

and showed me
pictures of us
on the beach, and
getting morning coffee

and the one of me
with Sal shading
her eyes against the sun
her eyes the same as mine
so I believed him

what made me remember
was not a fact but a feeling
an intuition of sorrow
a space of absence
that was memory

when I said
I love you
it was met
with silence

our union was
a thing that ended
long ago
signed and certified
a document forgotten

so what is this
tenderness
that is not love?
this compassion from
one to the other?

what are we
without our memories
gathered with intent
held in shadow
boxes on display

the attic of my mind
is empty

we are here now
our love is here.

This poem is based on a snippet of an NPR radio show I heard where a woman falls while filming the pilot of a TV drama and ends up having total amnesia. She had divorced her husband but has no recollection of it, and he ends up caring for her during her recovery.