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It seems like every day
I walk into my bedroom
and forget whatever it was I came in for.
Stand for a minute
in the middle of the room,
look around and leave empty handed.

I’m not stupid, I’m just forgetful.

I’m a math teacher.
Once I was standing in front of the class
and suddenly the word wouldn’t come.
I was teaching about exponents,
a simple enough concept
for my fifth graders.
I knew the word began with an e,
or maybe an o.
I stood at the white board,
Expo marker in my hand.
That should have been clue enough.
Expo, exponent.
But instead I stood silently,
in front of the waiting class,
until someone in the back of the room
broke the silence and yelled,
Thank you very much.

I’m not stupid, I’m just forgetful.

Glasses on top of my head,
book right where I left it,
papers neatly stacked in the corner of my desk
elude me.
I often forget my towel when I get in the shower.
Leave the frying pan on with the flame going
while I talk on the phone.

I leave the laundry overnight in the washer,
rewash it in the morning.
Leave the load to wrinkle in the drier,
needing to be fluffed.
And then fluffed again.

Plants I didn’t water droop.
The jacket I forgot outside got rained on.
I left my baseball cap in the booth of a restaurant.
Didn’t set my alarm before I went to bed.

Does this happen when you get to be my age,
or is it any age?

I’m not stupid, I’m just forgetful.

Melanie Civin Kenion

Melanie Civin Kenion is spending her retirement writing poetry, traveling as much as possible, and playing Rummikub with her grandson.

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