where do memories go, when they're forgotten?

i don't think they disappear. they're put away, maybe, in old boxes of hurt and despair and love and compassion. they gather dust, maybe, like old photo albums on a shelf. but sooner or later, someone takes down those photo albums again, and giggle and coo and cry over them.

or maybe they're left out on the windowsill, to blow away like chaff in the wind. maybe they go up into the clouds and stay there, along with the lost kites and flown-away balloons. maybe there's a heaven for memories, where they are never forgotten, where they are cherished in the palms of little girls' hands and in golden lockets and heart-shaped pendants. maybe they ring silver bells for the angels or become the notes of harps.

maybe they're dropped into fountains like wishing-pennies, flickering downwards and downwards, swaying and dipping until they land amongst a pile of other memories. maybe they whisper to each other like mice in the straw. were you forgotten, too? what are you? the first bicycle ride. the first birthday party. the first kiss. a shooting star. a grandmother's smile.

maybe the bad memories are the loudest, the rudest, the noisiest. maybe that's why they're easier to remember.

maybe there is an old man who comes along after hours and sweeps them all up. he can see them, left behind on old picnic tables and dry lawns and sun-baked sidewalks. he sweeps them up with an old push-broom the color of glass, so that they're glittering in a pile like shards of broken bottles.

and then what he does with them, i don't know.