Two weeks to seventeen
In her evening gown, the girl dresses
the girl looks at her stunning self
No, not in the mirror
the girl sees herself in the coffin

The girl beholds her mother weeps
and blank stares come from her father
what else more can be done?
Out of her body, yes she is
To contact the living,
she can’t

The girl sees her lover comes
with seventeen red roses, pretty, she thinks
kisses her forehead, as he used to do
“I love you forever,” the boy whispers
and inside the coffin the roses be

The pastor comes and done is done
The only child, yes, the girl is
and through the cries, weeps, tears and moans
The girl murmurs, “forget-me-not”

Then Death comes and asks her hand
“No,” she says, “I’m not done yet”
Death nods but says no words
“forget-me-not, I want them to do”
and Death is gone,
is found no more

Two weeks to seventeen the girl still is
Now to the graveyard, her lover goes
seventeen yellow roses, sweet, thinks the girl
“It’s your seventeenth birthday, so happy birthday”
He kisses the tombstone, and a tear falls down
the girl wants to say

It’s spring, then summer, autumn and winter
Yet two weeks to seventeen, is all the girl can be
First year of remembrance, now it is
and at her grave, there they stand
her loving parents with their new-born baby
the girl wishes

Three years past, oh how time runs
but two weeks to seventeen the girl will still be
The little angel grows up – oh lovely, she is
lullabies and good-night kisses now hum in the air
no more seeing photo albums and videos,
it was all gone
the girl will cry

The boy is broken, crushed,
then moves on
chats with other girls, opens heart once more
the picture of the girl in his wallet, now it’s gone
It’s been five years, but what’s the point?
“I love you forever,” the boy has said
but forever is over, the girl will say

Two weeks to seventeen, the girl cries
she watches her 12 years old sister, ah, teenagers
To the graveyard, her family goes
“You have a big sister,” her parents then say
but the sister says, no, none sister of hers
the girl weeps

The man wears his white tuxedo, handsome as ever
tying the knot, making promises
the girl cries out
but as he kisses his bride and takes her hand
the girl stares blankly – he used to kiss me
forgotten all the way

Back to her graveyard, the girl goes
“forget-me-not, please don’t forget me”
“forget-me-not, please, remember me”
“forget-me-not, please, forget-me-not…”

In her remembrance, the girl is still there
and two weeks to seventeen, the girl still is
A man comes, seventeen red roses in hand
“It’s your birthday, so happy birthday”
and with that he kisses the tombstone, lovely as ever
he does not forget

A couple comes and cleans her grave
and with their 16-years-old daughter, there they stand
“We love you forever, forever isn’t over”
as her family cries but forces a smile
they do not forget

Now Death comes and asks her hand
The girl smiles and her hand she gives
“No more forget-me-nots, I am letting go
For they remember me, but life must goes on”
Two weeks to seventeen, ah, the girl still is
In companion of Death, she now will be

Marcella Purnama


In making this poem, I constantly ask myself, if the dead can talk (let’s put aside the religious beliefs), will they want the livings to move on, or will they want us to remember them? And actually what is keeping a person whose loved ones have died from moving on? Is it themselves? Or is it the fear that they will betray the dead if they move on? There are so many metaphysical questions in life, and one belief may differ for each individual. For me, if one day my time is up, I want to be remembered as a person who has been a blessing towards the others. I also want the people I’ve left behind to move on, of course in the way that they will still remember me in their memories, but they will no longer focus on me. Like the Bible says, “Let the dead bury the dead.”


4 thoughts on “forget-me-not

  1. Amanda says:

    I cried after reading this, it’s so touching. My grandma died when I was 11, I’m now 24 and 14 years have passed but he’s still with me.

  2. Hi Amanda, I’m so sorry for your loss… but yes, those who passed away never really leave us, they still live in our memories, and as long as we honour their lives, they will not die a second death :).

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