Our Cells Remember

Our bodies do not need calendars to tell us the date.

Woven into our beings
are the dates in our history
that made us who we are,
that changed our course,
that left an imprint on our core.

On a cellular level,
we remember.

Perhaps on the day of the life-changing event,
we glanced at a calendar,
noticed the number,
filed it away,
and though we cannot now bring that date up from memory when asked,
something inside us remembers.

Perhaps it has nothing to do with the number on a page,
but instead where the moon is in the sky,
how the planets are aligned,
how much or little daylight we are currently allotted,
that alerts our bodies that
today
is an anniversary
of that occasion.

Maybe this event was so significant,
that it has become
the center of our being,
the rest of our days, moments, memories
revolving around it,
Saturn with her rings,
children around a maypole,
everything in us tethered to and circling around this core component,
supporting actors,
background noise
behind the significant event.

Maybe the moment etched itself into our
brains,
hearts,
muscles,
bloodstream,
carving new roads and grooves
so deep into our essence
that everything else is just a go-kart or toboggan,
swooshing down the tracks that were
sculpted by the incident.

The calendar tells me that today is December 19,
a number that has no significance to my brain
as I write it on notes and see it on the bank sign.

But my cells know.

My cells remember that on December 19,
seven years ago,
I stood next to my husband’s hospital bed,
watching his brother’s marrow
drip
drip
drip
into him.

My cells know that it was on December 19
that we stood in reverent silence
around that bed,
watching the life-giving infusion,
as “O Holy Night”
filled our ears with sweetness,
the words heavy with
new meaning.

My cells know that nothing short of
a miracle
occurred on December 19,
marrow extracted from one brother,
dripped into the other,
the course of a life
changed
by a course of treatment.

My cells know this day.

I felt it before Facebook reminded me.
I sensed it before the “Happy Re-Birthday!” card our dear friend sends each year
arrived in the mail.
My brain didn’t see it coming,
but my cells did.

My cells remember.

The earth has traveled around the sun once again,
always bringing us back to
this day,
December 19,
the day that revolved around his cells,
but somehow became embedded into mine.