First Memory

By Lucas Gonzalez

Though it feels a bit like saying your true family
is the one you got to know on the T.V.

or saying sunset
was the temperature of grapefruit’s blood

My first reality was a museum diorama, masterpieces of taxidermy,
big whales & jurassic resurrections by which the world began

& Time was marked by shifts of skyline first
Shadow is the memory of light, in certain terms

For me light began like this from dust
before the mind ignited with a sound Bronx-bound

Before, maybe the rain falling on brick or glass, not yet ash or car alarms
Nor the angel garbage, the white ghost crust on the streets of Downtown.

In those mountains, you cannot measure sky changing by birds
its movement too much like geometries of skyscrapers or shadows on brook trout

When was it, this my transformation into an aperture bound by memory
it can’t have been that clear hallucination I have of the taxi cab on the day I was born

You say the mind can’t be awake so early
but what of innate resistance to fluorescent lighting

inborn longing for the blossoms’ shifting hues
on winding trails of scrubby brush

those coastal hill prophetically aflame
so much like the constructed hutches and ridge lines of wild ostrich wings.

I should have tried to explain by saying I first knew light as a construction,
a brightness in a hospital over a carpet of cement

a scarring over deep tunnels, the gizzards of iron pipes.
A maze full of bright, dead things that have never stopped living.

FavoriteLoadingSave This Story
Lucas Gonzalez

Lucas Gonzalez / About Author

Lucas Gonzalez is a poet from New York City. His first novel, Maple Machine (2006), was published by 826 National (McSweeney's Press). A recent Pushcart Prize nominee, Lucas holds an MA from Middlebury College and is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia University, where he serves as Community Outreach Editor for Columbia Journal.

> More posts by Lucas Gonzalez