Ars Oblivia [The Art of Forgetting]

by Emma Gomis

What is “remembered” in the body is well remembered
– Elaine Scarry

There is no language for pain
just injured bodies
wounding and unwounding
suturing to become separate
from the infliction of their hurt

A grammar of illness
bears opacity, breeds disbelief
a woman’s pain is invalidated
by an idiom of doubt

We carry our fictionalized ache
and return to the scene of our wounding
no one tells us how to mourn ourselves
how to hold the chronic throb

It took me twenty years to recognize anxiety
thirty to recognize trauma

never breached
the residue stiffens

My sister tells me to take down the mirrors
as if my own reflection might haunt me

the twitch in the neck of my image
hinges memory as a physical inventory

My sleep becomes a burial ground
for unmarked rips stashed in my body

I don’t remember my dreams in order
to perfect the act of forgetting
to efface the traces I can no longer carry

Emma Gomis is a Catalan-American essayist, poet, academic, and translator. She has been published in Entropy, Vice, Mother Jones, and La Opinión, among others, and has work forthcoming in Asymptote. She is the cofounder of Manifold Press which publishes texts in experimental criticism. Her work incorporates theory, photographs, moving image, and art criticism. She holds a BA in Musicology & Hispanic Studies, an MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics from Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, where she was also the Anne Waldman Fellowship recipient, and will be pursuing a PhD in Criticism and Culture at the University of Cambridge in the coming year.