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Memory Ball – Poem

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2024

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Royal College of Psychiatrists

Used by Yakima Tribeswomen

I like small and simple –
a shell, a bead, a knot.
This moon snail is the first inch of peony
stalk, pushing through the soil, this black bead
is the father I wanted to love, who would become
attached to a bed and a bedpan,
this knot is for the one I tied with you.
The string keeps winding,
the hemp ball growing.
It will be enormous, much bigger
than the rubber band balls ever were.
I haven't decided if I want you to know
these bits of memory. The dog head triton is,
‘I will always love you,’ from the man who's now
a Facebook friend, the blue bead is the mural
of the homeless teen who holds a tiny house
in his palm, another knot is the little girl who walks
looking down to read her ‘bookie’. Should
I tell you, or someone younger, to be alive longer,
should I keep it as my secret pleasure –
each shell, each bead, each knot?
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