Jeremy Byars
Jeremy Byars

For my wife, Amy, on Her Thirtieth Birthday

The most familiar sentimentalities
dwell on ardor, passion, the heart-things.
And while my heart warms by your embrace, flutters
when you appear after extended absence,
and throbs when just a thread of air separates
our lips, the brain is truly dominant—
synapses surging with nonselective scenes
in which our blissful life takes center stage.

Each day a memory returns at strange
moments, a trip from anniversaries past
plays out frame-by-frame as I drive to work:
a greasy Southern-fried meal in Oxford,
scanning the shelves upstairs at Square Books.
Our stroll upon the grounds of Rowan Oak
among the Muscatine vines—our free hands
on cameras, the others interlocked.

Random scenes slip in and out, shifting visions
of the many times I watched you play the psaltery:
a packed house for jams at the Pilot Knob
Christmas concert, the special offertories
at church, and best, the times you wore a kilt.
Mixed in with visions of the bursting shells
dazzling in your wide open eyes the first time
we watched the fireworks from Murray State.

Or a flash of scratchy scarves around our necks,
matching mittens, and coats held tight for warmth
while we explore the rarity of April snow.
And then damp socks through wet boots and shoes,
snow-smeared sleeves and pants, your cheeks and nose
made pink and blonde locks blown by the howling gales.
The snowball formed from carport slush, sidearmed,
exploding on my face; the chase that ensued—

so many blips in time where you’ve freed me from
my own pretentiousness. If only I
could touch these souvenirs, fold them up
like ticket stubs and slide them in my pockets,
kept safe from age’s haphazard edits.
Mnemonic photos framed to fight a loss
of past events, moments melting away
in lockstep with the rhythmic pace of the heart.


  1. My husband and I read your poem together and enjoyed it very much. Thank you and continue writing.

  2. My husband and I read your poem together and really enjoyed it. The vivid, familiar images pulled us in. Thank you and keep writing.

  3. Lovely…hold on tight to those memories but make room–there’s so many more yet to come.

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