April PAD Challenge: Day 19

Good morning!

Today’s prompt will require that you use a little memory, but not your own; because for today’s prompt you need to write a poem about a moment (or moments) you can’t remember yourself that are about yourself. I think everyone has these stories about when you were a child, or when you were drunk, or when you were talking in your sleep, or when you were in a coma (hopefully not too many fall into this category actually).

If you need to jog your memory of things you can’t personally remember, call up a friend or relative. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to recount those embarrassing moments for you.

For instance, we have a family reunion every year on Labor Day weekend up in northwest Indiana for my mom’s side of the family. There are usually more than 100 family members in attendance, and they ALL know the “tree story” about when I was three years old. You see, I was at one of my aunt’s houses and had to use the restroom, but they were all full. So my grandparents told me to go outside and relieve myself behind the tree. So my three-year-old self marched out there and rounded the tree one full circle and shouted back at the house, “Where’s the ‘behind’ of this tree?”

Ah, sweet memories. I don’t remember it personally, but every year on Labor Day weekend, 100+ people are ready to remind me. 

And with that, here’s my poem for the day:


My brother hung upside down
screaming his head off while my
face was covered in blood,
gushing from my eyebrow. But
I didn’t cry–just kept touching
my face. Maybe in shock of
the closeness of pain. Maybe
why I wasn’t afraid to hug
strangers at King’s Island as
a child. After hugging people
in Yogi Bear and Fred Flintstone
suits, it probably only made
sense to hug others I’d never
met. With a big smile on my
face. Something people always
notice even when I don’t know
I’m doing it. One night, I scared
my wife by calling out in my sleep
that Saddam Hussein was hiding
in our trashcan. Who knows
what I was dreaming? But then,
maybe it made complete sense
like the time I tried going pee
behind the tree at my aunt’s
only to ask, “Where’s the behind
to this tree?” Something my
family won’t let me forget.
Like this scar on my eyebrow
reminding me the memory of
our blood.


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181 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 19

  1. Narconon Vista Bay

    Is there a stranger here or is this me?I have felt some awful pain in my knee I am running and from what I can’t say. My heart hurts so I stop and pray. There is soon fog and I can’t see I yell and scream and yet I hear no sound. Have I been lost or am I found? I am unable to remember..what was that sound? I turn and run yet again to find there is only a dead end. I am stuck, locked in, alone. There is a shadow I see. Only what could it be? I turn and hide my face in my hands, only to find the shadow was me.

  2. Vista Bay

    Of Things I Can No Longer Remember
    The house I grew up at was unfortunately torn down by the new owners at the drop of a hat
    I spent the best days of my life there, at least the days I can no longer remember
    I had been torn from my house one warm day in September
    Why oh why can I no longer remember my former life
    The moment I moved I was left with a feeling of strife
    My new town, my new life was not what I wanted to be
    My parents had much difficulty with this, they couldn’t see
    Why oh why I was so angry about moving
    Now I can remember my second home although I wish I could not
    Why oh why was this the house my parents bought.

  3. Tyger Valverde

    Not Afraid

    They still tease me
    about how I afraid I was
    of the trees, felled
    across the earthen path
    Robbers! they laugh
    Your cousin told you
    there were robbers
    in the woods
    They claim my face
    resembled the color
    of fresh snow
    I know they are lying
    I was never afraid!

  4. Laurie Kolp


    Once asleep
    of your touch,
    luscious lips
    sweeping my body,
    loving, tender, sweet,
    showing you care.
    But, I am

  5. M. Schied

    A question of royalty

    I am a princess,
    my mother, a queen;
    she says that’s not true,
    but what does she mean?

    "No castle for us"
    she says with a sigh.
    But I know in my heart
    I live in the sky.

    "We can’t possibly be"
    but I’m not convinced
    I’m planning a future
    awaiting a prince.

    She scolds, "Don’t do that"
    as I nod to her regally
    I’m too little to know
    that there’s no chance, legally

    for a title for me,
    though I wish with much fervor
    for a present even Santa Claus
    could never deliver.

    I am a princess,
    my mother, a queen
    in a fantasy world
    where little girls dream.

  6. Laurie Kolp

    Wrong Car

    Once when I was a child
    my parents took me to get candy.
    They waited for me,
    as I entered the store,
    their eyes transfixed
    to the door.
    But when I came out
    of the candy store,
    my eyes were looking at the floor.
    And when I got in
    the car next to theirs,
    my parents could laugh no more.

  7. LindaTK

    Day 19

    A Bit About Me

    I don’t remember a phrase that I used
    to call my dad to dinner.
    My mom used to tell me from time to time
    as a smile spread across her face.
    After she had prepared dinner
    for all of us to eat
    she would ask me to call
    to my dad that it was time
    to “Come for Supper.”
    She would listen as I called into the next room,
    “Numma Puppa. Dad!”

  8. Charlene, Age 10

    Night Monopoly

    One night, on the campgrounds,
    I started shouting in my sleep,
    YOU OWE ME $250! GIMME MY $250!"
    The next day
    My mom said,
    "You were playing Monopoly in
    Your sleep. I could hear you shouting."

    Ben said, "I could hear you from my tent."
    I found it quite funny
    Mr. Magic Ben coulda cast a SPELL
    To keep my monotones OUT!

  9. Kate

    Nine Lives

    We were visiting my great grandfather
    in his hotel in Chicago. I know we visited
    again when I was older because I remember
    he showed me his wooden leg, and told me
    stories about Finny and Goldy, the goldfish
    that swam in the pool down in the lobby.
    I don’t remember this visit as I was just
    an infant but I’ve heard this tale so often,
    how my mother laid me on the bed in his room
    and turned her back for just for a moment
    while she looked for my bottle, or my diaper,
    or my stuffed bear, and when she turned back
    I was teetering on the sill of the open window,
    five stories up, waving my arms and laughing.

  10. Justin M. Howe

    Memories That I Don’t Remember

    I don’t remember being called
    ‘Buddha’ due to my baby belly
    flopping over my baby legs

    I don’t remember standing
    in my crib, calling my
    grandpa ‘Ah-ho!’

    I don’t know if I truly
    remember being terrified
    of ET in the theater
    but the squeamish-ness
    at the sight of that
    long-headed alien remains…

    -Justin M. Howe

  11. Judy Roney

    I’d ask Grandpa to tell me the
    story every time I saw him
    and he’d laugh till his eyes
    glistened with tears.

    Brother and I were ten months
    apart. Everyone thought we were twins.
    We were always together, like peas
    in a pod he’d say.

    Brother threw stones at the mower
    as Grandpa mowed the grass one day.
    Grandpa threatened him with a paddling
    and brother kept throwing.

    Grandpa stopped the mower and brother
    got his backside spanked. Brother
    didn’t cry but I screamed from the
    pain of it all. I stammered in my
    high pitched squeal, "I’m gonna tell
    he Momma on you!"

    I loved watching Grandpa as he told
    the story, he’d go back to a time
    he cherished and I got to see him
    laugh till he cried.

  12. S.E. Ingraham


    I can’t remember it, of course
    But I can picture it
    When I can bear to
    “I relinquish all rights to this child”
    As she hands me over.
    She was sobbing, she tells me
    I believe her.
    I was screaming my six week old head off
    She tells me
    I believe her.

    S. E. Ingraham

  13. Tad Richards

    When I was in
    a coma
    after that attack
    at the winter solstice
    on headquarters

    they gave me
    round the clock nurses
    often they were naked
    or so I’m told
    sometimes they

    would lie next to me
    apply stimulation
    to my private
    (not to them)

    this was not on the charts
    they’d cover up
    but circumstances
    call for unorthodox

    measures and I
    might not have
    made it through the night
    without mouth to mouth

  14. Raven


    dear little bumblebee
    sitting on the fence
    so fat and round
    so soft as I pet
    everyone else was so sweet
    there on the farm
    why did you bite me
    you made me cry
    and now I have to sleep

    TK Kietero

  15. Amanda Caldwell

    Toilet Humor

    All my childhood memories
    from before I had memories
    are about pee.
    Or poop.
    Or something equally embarrassing.
    There’s no story
    about how I saved a boy from a burning house
    or composed a sonata at age 3
    (both not true, but try!)
    or even an echoing of my own memories
    of watching caterpillars shimmy hairily up a tree
    and wishing I could ride the couch the movers carried out
    and noting a young man with a hairy chest wearing a necklace
    and thinking, I didn’t know men could wear jewelry.
    There’s only the tawdry recitation:
    you peed on purple carpet in the furniture store,
    through layers of clothing, diaper, and stroller,
    and we hightailed it out from under the gaze
    of the unamused saleswoman
    when our attempts to block her view didn’t work.
    You wanted to pee in the woods
    like your brother and cousins
    and kept whining,
    Where’s the girl tree? Where’s the girl tree?
    You humiliated your uncle Karl
    when he bravely at age 19
    took you to see Bambi,
    and you called out from the stall in the men’s room,
    Karl, wipe my bottom,
    and he had to decide whether he heard your tiny girl voice.
    Of course, my brother’s poo story trumps mine,
    a baby grunting in a pancake house,
    and before they could pay the check,
    it boiled up, cascading over the neck of the onesie,
    oozing out the cuffs at the sleeves and the feet,
    covering the booth in brown.
    And my parents ran,
    baby held out before them like toxic waste
    or a bomb about to explode,
    until they got to the parking lot —
    and then laughed and laughed and laughed.
    Those are the stories of my family,
    poo and pee,
    embarrassment and laughter.

  16. LBC

    Deja vu

    My grandmother pushed me
    in my stroller
    along the bank of the mighty Niagara River
    where the rushing water cascades
    over the Bridal Veil.
    My mother and father
    strolled behind,
    holding hands,
    sharing a laugh.
    I don’t remember
    if I laughed too.
    I don’t remember if I was awed
    by the beauty of the great Niagara Falls.
    But my mother reminisces,
    and in my mind’s eye
    I see the picture.
    I don’t remember sharing that moment
    with my grandmother,
    But, years later
    when I pushed my graddaughter
    in her stroller
    along the bank of the mighty Niagara River
    where the rushing water cascades
    over the Bridal Veil,
    there was that feeling of already seen;
    Deja vu.

  17. Sarah

    Hiding Space
    Newspaper in hand
    unable to read it
    but having the desire to
    long before I was three
    so I found a quiet space
    in the corner by the ‘fridge
    that offered me the solitude
    to pretend that I could.

  18. Kimberlee Thompson

    Little Choice

    When I grew up,
    I got brave enough
    to ask Dad, why always,
    “Because I said so?”

    Now eloquent,
    I argued that given
    a real reason, I might
    have complied

    instead of feeling
    pushed around.

    When I grew up,
    Dad thought I might
    Be old enough
    to understand.

    “Once, I gave you
    a choice: if you hit
    your brother, you must
    go to your room

    immediately, Young Lady,
    and stay there.

    You hit your brother,
    went directly to your room
    and ‘Because I said so,’
    became the norm.”

  19. Yoli

    This isn’t exactly what was asked for, but this is what came out. It took me a few days to write, this was so hard for me, (I was horrified when I saw this prompt!) but what I came up with surprised me.

    A good part of my childhood (if you can call it that) was spent in and out of hospital waiting rooms. At each hospital you had to be 16 years old to go to the floor where my mother was, so I didn’t see a lot of her. Before I was 12, I’d been to every major hospital on the eastern seaboard, including some in Central America.
    Certain they were being comforting or helpful, all the adults around me (except my father, thank goodness) always tried to tell me how I felt or what I thought instead of actually listening. This poem is about that first day when she had to go to the hospital and what I would have liked to say to all of them…

    I Remember

    “You don’t remember that,”
    some say to me.
    “You were too young. There’s no way you could remember.”

    But I do.
    Clear as day.
    The dark room.

    “It’s not possible,”
    some say to me.
    “Okay, what time was it? What day?”

    I don’t know
    but I remember
    clear as day
    the curtains drawn.

    “You were so young,”
    some say to me.
    “Are you sure it’s a memory or just what you’ve been told?”

    I am sure
    and I remember
    clear as day
    the upright pillows
    and large bed.

    “You weren’t old enough,”
    some say to me.
    “You weren’t there, in the hospital to see. There’s no way you would know.”

    But I remember
    clear as day
    before the hospitals
    my Dad standing
    looking so sad.

    “Well, where was I?”
    Some say to me,
    “How come I don’t remember? I’m older than you.”

    I don’t know.
    But I remember
    clear as day
    the garbage can
    by the bed
    where Mom laid
    with curtains drawn
    and Dad stood
    in the darkness
    to see if
    she’d get sick.
    And I sat
    on the floor
    in the hallway
    of our house.
    She saw me
    watching very close
    and very scared.
    She looked worried
    and so sad.
    I was six
    and I remember
    that first day
    of the end
    and my Mom
    did not know
    to say goodbye.

    It does not matter what
    some say to me.

    Clear as day
    I remember

  20. k weber

    Tiny Tots With Their Mouths All Aglow

    Sometime after
    I hand-picked
    cigarette butts
    from the family
    and waddled
    with other
    tiny neighborhood
    right into an open
    and threw
    all the tenants
    kitchen accessories
    into a steep pine
    tree —
    but before
    I cut my six-
    year-old lower
    lip with scissors
    somehow while clipping
    out valentines — I
    watched a lot
    of television
    commercials and I
    went to church

    and during
    the children’s
    one quiet
    and god-fearing
    Sunday, I looked
    to the very back
    for my grand-
    mother and yelled
    before the holy
    ghost and every
    in Medway, Ohio:
    "OB Tampons, Grandma!"

  21. Jay Sizemore

    Better late than never I guess. I am trying to catch up!

    Scars without memory

    There are some that I still carry,
    white lakes or slivers festooned
    in the pink flesh of my skin
    like tattoos of consequence,
    the souvenirs of lessons learned
    or never learned,

    such as the one underneath
    my right eye,
    the postcard from myself
    at the age of ten months
    visiting the sharp corner
    of a polished top coffee table,
    head first.

    That me loved
    trying out his new legs,
    that me had never seen
    the color of his own blood
    dribbling down
    his chin and spackling
    the white carpet
    like impressionist art,
    becoming so numb to the pain
    that he slapped the wound
    again and again
    for the sheer joy
    of hearing his mother scream.

    Others go deeper,
    beneath the surface
    of what the world
    is allowed to see,
    and etched into the sediment
    and limestone rock
    of my heart
    and foundation
    like ancient cave drawings.

    Bring the torchlight closer
    and you can see the image
    of a boy,
    wrapped in the elation
    of the promise
    of seeing his father,
    eyes glossy with delight,
    bright blue and wild
    as he packs his suitcase,
    the light slowly fading
    from the sky
    and from his eyes
    as he sits waiting,
    legs hanging from the porch,
    head propped in his hands,
    listening to the locusts wings
    whirring their welcome of the night
    and the slow death of naivety.

    That boy was nearly lost
    before he was lost
    to the truth of breaking,
    when he was only two
    and he disappeared
    through a crowd of legs
    and strangers’ shoes
    at some party in the city.
    He wasn’t in the house,
    he wasn’t hiding
    in or under any of the cars,
    he was three houses down
    in one of the neighbors’ yards,
    talking to some old man
    beside a swimming pool.
    His mother collapsed crying,
    cradling him in her arms,
    thanking whatever form of god
    that she found him
    only 25 minutes gone
    and not 30,
    because she knew
    how much that boy
    loved the water.

  22. Jennifer Fagala

    Gardener Snake and my 4 year old self

    I don’t remember all of this
    the glass jar
    or the little stick
    leaning up tight to the top

    I don’t remember him, mostly
    and what I do I think is
    just imagination of a memory
    she told me

    He was green
    red eyed and small
    traveled in on the muff
    of my dog
    a gardener
    snake she said
    and a baby at that
    mother might be missing
    but I wasn’t sure about that.

    I could keep him
    or let him go
    it was my choice
    as I stared at that glass
    my little gardner

    but he had a mom
    maybe a sister or two
    and sure as I am
    writing to you
    I walked out to the pile of wood
    little 4 year old hands
    released him
    as I was sure that I should

    every day for a week
    I stared out into the yard
    to see if I could see
    wondering if
    he was staring back
    and missing me.

  23. Carol A Stephen

    Bed Rest

    That winter I was three
    I woke in hospital
    an empty room
    except for me,
    no pillow
    can’t breathe,
    strange food, like
    green grapes in milk.
    Mother was not there,
    she wouldn’t just leave me there,
    Would she? Would she?
    Weeks and weeks
    of bed-rest and soldiers
    marching on my counterpane
    I did not remember
    what I might have done
    to send me to my room
    for so long.
    Christmas eve,
    Santa and Mrs. Claus
    came to visit me.
    I was not surprised.
    Something good had to come of it.

    Carol A. Stephen

  24. Lynn

    True or Not?

    They say one day I used a pen
    to stab my dad, but oh! Why then
    do I have no recollection?
    There’s no real explanation.

    My brother made it up, I think.
    He says I was on the brink
    of ‘crazy mass destruction!’
    that I could barely function.

    To confirm, there’s no one left.
    We are all alone, bereft.
    And so I hold my ground and say
    there is no conceivable way!

  25. Mike Padg

    Crackers, sandwhiches,
    a water bottle parade,
    It seems on this day
    everyone is my slave.
    All eyes are on me,
    Watching carefully,
    Catering my every whim.
    Dogs bark loudly
    into my now angry face,
    So I curse them
    with every single
    word that I can think of
    that would bring them
    I sit by myself on the back
    porch, until I need them,
    I am to be left alone.
    I close my heavy eyes
    for a second or more,
    and when I open them
    I look around,
    I’m not sure where I am.

  26. Laural

    What You Said About My Tricycle

    I gave it to Will
    You say I gave it to Bill
    I didn’t.

    I wanted him to have it
    You said no, there we agree.
    You said we had to go get it back.

    At four, I felt
    What it means to be
    We walked uphill
    Heard the whip-poor-wills
    In the dry leaves beside the road
    I knew they were
    Singing my song.

    We got there and you say
    You asked his mother
    For the tricycle back.
    No, you made me ask Will
    To give it back. Not Bill.
    Not you.

    I know that pain is
    Not all in my imagination.
    For you, an inconvenience
    A need to have
    Your investment
    Saved for your
    Own relative, not
    Some boy you
    Didn’t really know.

    We moved away
    For years, I suffered
    Thinking how Will
    Felt, how I felt
    How our connection
    Was broken
    For financial reasons
    No reason at all.

  27. Rebecca

    A New Sister

    When the small bundle
    arrived in my mother’s
    arms I was not concerned.
    When she cried and wailed
    and my mother gave her breast
    there was nothing to fear.
    When she was laid in the
    bassinet to sleep
    I watched in fascination.
    When they told me she was
    staying, I said,
    She can go home now….
    Take her back to the hospital.

  28. lynn rose

    "a night of lost memories"
    A day of fun in the sun and to much to drink. I was lying on the sand feeling a little sic, just trying to sober up. My friends were comfronting me and trying to make me come around. They dunked me in the water and was playing around. I wanted to be left alone and said my ass and they did it. Where did all this sand came from and how did it get there,was that a beer sign I saw, everyone knows but me.

  29. KP

    My First Interview from my Boss’ Perspective

    She says she’ll be reliable and hard working every day
    We think she’ll be the lighthouse in our bay
    She says she’ll work 100 percent
    And enjoys being a team player
    We think she’ll be the sour cream in our 7-layer
    She says she lives to write and even loves to edit
    For that, we’ll have to give her lots of credit
    We think she’ll be the seatbelt on our roller coaster
    We think she’ll be our bagel in the toaster
    She’ll be the morning cup of coffee
    The happy hour beer
    The creative umph we need around here
    She’ll be the donut when our copy is flat
    If we’re her baseball, she’ll be our bat
    She’ll be the backspace key when we’re going in the wrong direction
    She’ll be in the first row, first seat in our cheering section
    We must be crazy if we don’t hire her soon
    When every day feels like Monday she’ll be our Friday afternoon

  30. ck

    (Day 19 post)


    I loved it so much the first time
    that I kept doing it, they say.
    I’d wait around a corner,
    wait for some soul to come my way.
    Then jump out,
    cry, Boo!
    and scare the person to death.
    I scared my siblings,
    to my delight;
    I startled my parents,
    I giggled and laughed,
    even scared myself once or twice, they say.
    Dad nicknamed me Boo.
    I was six years old.

    For years “boo” echoed through the house.
    Boo, get this for me.
    I didn’t do it; Boo did.
    Hey, Boo, where are you?
    Boo, have you cleaned up your room yet?
    Damn it, Boo, what did you do?!
    Boo, phone. Get the phone, Boo.

    That was my name
    until I was almost twenty.
    I remember:
    then my father,
    thinking Boo would no longer do
    for a lovely young woman,
    stopped using my nickname.
    Consciously stopped.
    I no longer waited around the corner,
    I no longer scared my siblings,
    I no longer frightened my parents,
    I was no longer a little girl.
    He never again called me Boo.
    I wish he hadn’t stopped.