How to Forget Their Name

Courtney Hilden


At first, it will

seem to hold


to you, like a bat

to night.  You will drive


up the dark,

fooling yourself into believing

you can                                            

chart its ombres.  You will busy


yourself with other

tasks: prying


loose the ship’s planks, boarding

up the windows, breaking down

the packages, taking

up that long-

wanted hobby of composing

aubades.  One day, as you are



the dawn, the morning will

remind you

of them.  You will ask yourself when


was the last

time.  You will not recall

it was when you heard

a love song. 


It may slip


in parts—

the pronunciation, or the spelling, before


dissolving completely

like macaroni

necklaces.  It may come back momentarily, in


parts: the syllable rhythm, its sense

it was poetry in another life.  You will resolve


yourself to distraction: the aforementioned other

lovers, new names

for forgetting, fresh

partings, nocturne

serenades.  Some


thing will finally rise

up out of the black

waters to grab


hold of you.  With renewed


attention you will

admire how he picks

at his bones.  With affection,

you will hold


his hands so the wounds

may heal.  While out, one day,


as you and he lay waste

together, they will



you.  After the initial

greeting they will




For once, the silence

will love you, favour


            instead.  Don’t you


            me?  You will tilt


your head to one

side.  Unintentionally,


their portrait of you will begin

to melt like untempered





Courtney Hilden’s work has been published in Bustle, More of Us, Panning for Poems, Dodging the Rain, among others.