“How Are We Remembered?” in three, fifty-word poems

Barrens (2009)

I walk the remains
of my village,
each step gasping memory from ash.
For six years
I have stalked the dry barrens,
plush comfort stark against
these black echoes.
I bend at a glint
and resurrect
a flattened silver perfume cap.
I know this smell:
desert, naked sun, relentless wind.


You promised me
the shabby gods
would show me the relics of me.
Squirrel pointed out the scars in trees.
Mouse showed me the orphaned diaries.
Sol, the opportunities lost.
And Shiva
showed me the bones of promises
along the trails I have walked.
See? You’re not at all a fraud.


Hiked up the steep rock
to the cairn at the top.
Sat at the base
and to the wind said, ‘Hello, again.’
I was there
when the last rock was stacked
and the priests walked away.
I remember their song sadly fading,
a Latin requiem
mourning, for all time, immortality.

-(2013, pmcgann)

The above poems were written in response to TPR’s big question, “How Are We Remembered?” by Patrick McGann of Twisp, WA. Patrick is a poet, reformed journalist, privatized whiskey peddler and co-founder of Methow Asylum for Writers.