NOTES TOWARD AN ELEGY, or WHAT THE BOOKS WERE FOR

by Hannah Aizenman

 

 

 

   i.

 

 The books were because   something happened

 

that gutted us of words. They were not   to help us

or restore what we had lost. They were a place

   to put our emptiness   a center

 

   that might hold. The books were

books of questions   I did not know you well—

 

 

   ii.

 

Remember   from Old French remembrer from

   Latin   rememorari meaning call to mind   as in

re- (emphatic, expressed force)   memor (mindful).

 

Member   Middle English   via Old French from

   Latin   membrum meaning limb   likely from

Proto-Indo-European   mems-ro meaning flesh, meat.

 

 

   iii.

 

When in the morning I make coffee   when I light

   a cigarette   to what do my hands listen?

Once I had to tell them   do this, do this, do this.

 

There are things a body learns. There are things

   it won’t forget.