Poem: The Things I Regret Forgetting

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I recorded “The Things I Regret Forgetting” just a month after starting this website with the intent of sharing it here. On a whim, before posting it, I submitted it to a literary magazine, and they accepted it. It appeared in The Scarlet Leaf Review last December.

I recently read this piece during the Open Mic at the Wyoming Writers, Inc. Writing Conference. It was the first time I’ve read my writing to such a large audience. My fear of crying while I read the piece almost prevented me from participating, but as you either know, or will learn about me, when it comes to writing, I refuse to let my fears stop me. The reading went better than I could have hoped. No stumbles, no crying, and I didn’t die. I hope you enjoy the recorded version below.

1.
The sparkle in your eyes.
See, when I try to remember…
there’s only a blank canvas.
I try harder
but then there’s only splashes of faded colors.
It’s like I’m legally blind
and I can’t see one single line.
And I just want to remember
what the color green looked like
when it was lit up by the heat of a thousand blazing suns when you saw me.
And the gravity of them
was so strong
that it pulled the corners of your lips up to kiss your eyes.
How I wish I could kiss your eyes.
How I wish I could see your smile.

2.
The sound of your voice.
I don’t dream of you often.
It’s as though you don’t want to haunt my dreams
like you haunt my life,
but I just want to hear the sound of your voice.
I want to remember the cadence of your speech
tiptoeing across my skin
reminding me that you believe in all of my dreams,
and your voice assuring me that I can believe in them too.

3.
I regret forgetting how to think of you
and smile.

4.
How to think of you
and not cry.

5.
How to think of you
and not feel my heart being ripped out of my chest
and mourning over the gaping hole that’s left.

6.
I wish I remembered the curves of your face.

7.
I regret forgetting
that just because you didn’t die at the scene
didn’t mean that you would survive
the car wreck.

8.
That just because I wasn’t in the vehicle
didn’t mean that I would survive
the car wreck.

9.
I regret forgetting
that I didn’t know how much time we had left.

10.
I’m sorry that I didn’t write.

10.
I’m sorry that I didn’t call.

10.
I’m sorry that I didn’t meet you at the hospital.

10.
I’m sorry that when I arrived,
you never woke up.

10.
I can’t move on.

10.
I can’t move on.

10.
I can’t move on…

10.
I regret forgetting
that I can’t forget
how much it hurts that you’re gone.

17 Comments


  1. // Reply

    What a sadly beautiful piece. I love how the last eight stanzas are all numbered ten to show how the “I” in the poem can’t move on.

    Congratulations on getting it published, but especially on your successful reading.


    1. // Reply

      Thank you so much! There is the burden of carrying regrets after someone has died, whether they are even real things to regret or not is difficult to say, but their weight is the same.
      I am relieved the reading went well. Hopefully the next one is a little easier.


  2. // Reply

    Mandie, this is a masterpiece! Yes, a masterpiece! 7 & 8 were so deep and your voice made it all the better to listen (& read along).


    1. // Reply

      Thank you, EM. You’re too kind. I feel lucky to have you commenting on my pieces. I always know I’ll get a boost of encouragement, and walk away from my computer like I put something good out there for other people to appreciate.


      1. // Reply

        You’re always putting good stuff out there for us, Mandie hence the reason I look forward to your posts. 🙂


          1. //

            Most welcome. ^^


  3. // Reply

    Emotional and thought-provoking poem, Mandie…you’re much braver than me for getting up at open mic…I haven’t had the courage to do that yet. Congratulations on getting your poem accepted, too! 🙂


    1. // Reply

      Thank you, Scarlett. I’m not sure if I’m all that brave. I was so anxious before going up. My mouth was dry and I wasn’t sure it would even work when I went up there. After I was done I shook from the adrenaline.
      I have to thank my writing group for getting me to a point where I could even force myself up there though. One of our members has us read our work to the group, and that used to make me just as nervous as reading in front of that huge crowd. So when I went up there, I tried to imagine I was just reading to my writing group.
      Recording my stories and poems for this website also helped. I think all those smaller things prepared me for that larger step.


  4. // Reply

    Spectacular, especially when I listened to you reading… the way you varied the tempo and how you used the line length and the number of the verses (can we ever go past ten?)… the passage that caught me most was:

    cadence of your speech
    tiptoeing across my skin


    1. // Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to read and listen to this piece, Björn. Of the pieces I’ve written to date, it is probably the most personal and important piece to me, so it’s nice to have people appreciate it.


  5. // Reply

    Like Bjorn, I really enjoying listening to you read and following along by reading. A very sorrowful piece. I’m glad you were able to share it at the writer’s conference. I know it touched others. It certainly did me.


  6. // Reply

    Truly powerful and in its own way gave you the power to move forward and share it first for a group of trusted friends and then, how very brave of you, in front of strangers. I’m betting many were choking back tears. Thanks for sharing this and helping others with their own journey through grief.

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