Time Was

Time Was

The first thing I did
was take down the clock
running dutifully on its one cell
of battery and move the hands
forward, so the day could tick itself
out correctly. And, as if no crime
had been committed in the interim,
no honest grocer shot, no house
foreclosed, no mother locked frantic
in the search for a missing child,
time resumed its pure pace,
chipping off the required squares
of space as before—numbers
straining toward twelve, one hand
chasing the other under the shadow
of the thin red whip driving the whole
terrible mechanism.
And suddenly,
like an apparition called back
from a great distance, there we were—
the blue-white sea air, the first starts of stars,
your watch ticking to itself on the dresser.
And how we said we were beyond
time, as if one could declare a truce
with what’s next. There shall be
no what’s next, we swore, only honey,
and what’s next falling into it slow and caught
as in amber. How could I have imagined
then, such silence. Such drowning.

– Alice Friman

Friman always startles me, like a knife so sharp I don’t even know I’ve been sliced open and just stand there, dumb and bleeding.

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