Forgetfulness and the Day of Judgment

by Carol Hamilton

So the River Lethe was where the Greeks went
in Hades to forget their former lives. If we have
to remember everything, blazing clear and decked out
in consequence, Lethe  would be a gift for us arriving,
all blood-smeared and mud-encrusted
from our birth until and through our death.
But I remember when we had to part,
I lamented long knowing how I would forget,
how all the past turns into just still-life photos
of moments caught by a flashbulb.

I would like to see justice. I want us all
to make pilgrimage to visit Mnemosyne,
walk into her waters like the faithful
into the Ganges for a full look at ourselves,
each moment, clear-eyed, knowing it to the core
of our brainstems, then slowly wash away
the putrefying and noxious fluvial debris.
Only then could we leave the waters, cleansed,
ready at last to walk about without dragging
behind us all of  our unacknowledged chains.


Carol Hamilton has recent and upcoming publications in North Dakota Review, Louisiana Literature, Chiron Review, Southwestern American Literature, Edison Review, Nevermore Journal, Gyroscope, Ceseara, Pangolin Review, Willow Review, Poem, Blue Unicorn, Woven Tales Press, Abbey, Willow Review, The Café Review, Pensive, The Cornflower Review, Bookends Review, Sangan Literary Magazine, Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, Oklahoma Humanities, Zone 3, Haight Ashbury Poetry, miller’s pond of poetry and others. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has published 17 books: children’s novels, legends and poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize 9 times.

Photo: “Bathing at the river” by Antoine Gady