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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash


Updated: Jun 2, 2020

What are we

If not a sum of our parts?

A pile of experiences

Diaries from our childhood, books we've read

Arguments we've had

When sitting at the kitchen table

Meatloaf and sticky jello

What are we

If not just a multiplication of our days?

From here to there and back again


Nights upon the same mattress

Work, play, sleep, raise a family, walk the dog

One day runs into another

Words pile on top of each other

In conversations long forgotten

Slowly things attach themselves to us

Items gotten here, no there, no maybe there

You remember?

Each thing has a tiny match that ignites

A tinny memory

A glimmer of copper when we close our eyes

Is copper the color of the passion to live and to love?

What are we

If not our stuff?

Gathered over time

Each piece a reminder of a car ride

A store, a beloved child, a dog, a job well done,

A friend, a boss, jealousy

Cherished items bring back memories

A cloudy Tuesday when we were ten

Or that time on the mountain when we were eighteen

Things we collected to remind us of our youth

Our children, that we were here.

As real as the words on this page.

That we lived.

We can still smell our childhoods

When we smell the lilacs

What are we without our memories?

Can we give our memories away?

Share them with others so when we are gone

Bits of us that remain on earth?

Fragments of our life, indications of love not lost

Snippets of us we give so we are not forgotten

The sum of our parts provoking thoughts, inciting love and memories

We are but fragments

In the notes we wrote, the shoes we wore, the things we held in our hands

Warm and solid and alive

Pieces of me that fit you now, here now and gone tomorrow.


This was written as a way to recall my parents after we said Yizkor on the second day of Shavuot. Yizkor means "remember."

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