Hard Drive

Seven years of pictures and videos—
senior year in high school, backpacking.,
two year mission, away at school,
homecomings, courtship,
engagement pictures, honeymoon travels,
first home, moving in, a floppy-eared puppy,
the pacific coast, camping in redwoods,
snorkeling in the Bahamas, pregnancy,
firstborn child, first steps,
hiking, public parks, reunions, birthdays,
anniversaries, holidays,
second child, first words, evenings playing at home—
two hundred and fifty gigabytes of memories
carefully recorded
meticulously backed up to the hard drive
whenever a device filled up.
If it had only 3 megabyte pictures
it would have held eighty-thousand of them.
Twenty-two straight hours
of seeing through lenses—
if it only took one second
to realize each moment,
put it on hold,
raise the camera,
and take the shot.
To watch it all in a slide show
would have taken days.
Days of the choicest moments of their life together,
times when they interrupted what was happening
to record a piece of it, trusting
they would always have the piece.

Seven years of life
perched treacherously on the piano.
little feet climb the bench
small hands find the hard drive
curious fingers fumble.
It tips,
it totters,
it falls to the ground.
It looks unharmed, but it’s not working.
They ship it out, they get a quote.
“Fourteen hundred dollars?!”
They think of seven years.
“We won’t miss the money,
but we will always miss the memories.”
And they’re right.
A tax return comes through.
They decide
and give the go-ahead, hoping,
willing to do without to resurrect
the memories.
Weeks pass, an email comes:
the drive is broken beyond repair—
and seven years go out with the trash.

I’m From

I’m from “work hard and you’ll succeed,”
from purple mountains and thumb sticks,
from haystacks and mutnicks,
from Pokémon and Power Rangers,
from picture books and Animorphs.
I’m from the smell of brine salt and cattails,
from catfish and rainbow trout,
from sagebrush, scrub oaks and aspens,
from glacial lakes and star-choked skies.
I’m from analog signals and black and white screens,
from libraries and late nights.
I’m from tackle football in the snow and Hatchet.
I’m from “Country Road” and “Lose Yourself,”
from aleternative, punk rock, and post hardcore.
I’m from wooden playgrounds and DOS,
from prison-pipeline gangs and Sunday School.
I’m from Y2K, September 11th,
and first generation Xbox controllers.
I’m from Hobbiton and Hogwarts,
I’m from $1.00 Big Macs and Fufu Berry Soda,
from Blindside, Smith and Edwards,
and Western Family.
I’m from public schools
and Mrs. Felt’s AP English Class.
I’m from Robert Frost and Harper Lee,
from my best friend’s living room,
and even from the Bible Belt.
I’m from these and a thousand other places,
and I still visit them sometimes
in poetry
and in my mind.