Sonnet: Now I see them by Michael Palmer
Now I see them sitting me before a mirror.
There’s noise and laughter. Somebody
mentions that hearing is silver
before we move on to Table One
with the random numbers. I look down
a long street containing numbers.
A white four leans against the fence
and disappears. In the doorway
is the seven, then the x
painted red so you can find it
more easily. Five goes by
without its cap. My father wears
the second x. He has a grey cloud
for a face, and dark lines for arms.
I first found this poem (from Palmer's collection Series from The Lion Bridge) here at the vast and wonderful poetry website PoetryFoundation.org. When I contacted him to ask permission to post, he included this background information:
It derives in part from reading the great Soviet-era
psychologist A.R.Luria’s The Mind of a Mnemonist, about the life
struggles of a man who could not forget things and became a professional
mnemonist. Luria was a crucial influence on Oliver Sacks in Sacks’
early years as a neurologist and writer.
An earlier posting in this blog offers another fine Palmer poem ("Prose 31: The Logic of Contradictions").