The words were hidden under Notes  
on my device. I thought I had written them
myself and admired how clever I must be.

Then I noticed the quotes, so
I went to the oracle and asked: who wrote
these words that are both ordinary and true?

When the answer came: it was of course
the artist, Magritte I was flattened. Not that
I begrudged him the credit by any means

but because the knowledge bolstered a concern
I’ve had for years about the mind: how hard
it has to work to make a memory and then file it

safe and sound so that it comes next time you call.
I had an aunt who told me more than once
she feared her mental faculties would fail

before her antique body took her down. And then
they did, leaving her stranded, abandoned
by the capacity that builds a story

block by block, bolts its components
invisibly to beams that will not shift.
Everything I see hides another thing,

so I write poems, hopeful they will steer me
through the labyrinth I entered
unseeable years, uncountable miles ago.

Annie Stenzel‘s poems have appeared in Catamaran Literary Reader, Ambit, Kestrel, right hand pointing, Eclectica, and Whale Road, among others. Her first book-length collection, The First Home Air After Absence, was published last year by the Bostonbased press, Big Table. She lives within sight of the San Francisco Bay.