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We Remember Maria

by Ken Sanes

We remember Maria.
But it isn’t enough.
We remember how she
dressed up her dolls
in outfits like her own,
and laughed with friends
at the jokes they shared,
talking on the phone
about school and television
and what they should wear.
Yes, we remember Maria
by keeping her room
just the way she did,
with a row of dolls on the shelf,
and freshly ironed clothes
hanging in the closet
or neatly stacked in drawers.
Her bed is also made up
just the way she liked it,
with a soft comforter
and lots of fluffed up pillows
propped against the headboard.
“You can melt right in,”
she used to say with a big smile
when we tucked her in,
happy to be safe and comfortable
as she slept in her own bed.
Unfortunately, her bed is now
as neat as her room
because there’s no longer an imprint
for it to remember,
just as there are no more trips
for us to take, holding her hand,
as we walk down
those bare antiseptic halls.
So we remember Maria.
But it isn’t enough,
because memory is only for the living
and everyone forgets.
And because we will never forget
walking down those halls for the last time
and leaving the building, alone.
Yes, we remember Maria
and are reminded every day
that now her love for us
is just a memory
in the one’s who were loved.


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