by Brenda Hillman
of time. Of there not being
enough of it.
My girl came to the study
and said Help me;
I told her I had a time problem
I would die for you but I don’t have ten minutes.
Numbers hung in the math book
like motel coathangers. The Lean
Cuisine was burning
like an ancient city: black at the edges,
bubbly earth tones in the center.
The latest thing they’re saying is lack
of time might be
a “woman’s problem.” She sat there
with her math book sobbing—
(turned out to be prime factoring: whole numbers
dangle in little nooses)
Hawking says if you back up far enough
it’s not even
an issue, time falls away into
'the curve' which is finite,
boundaryless. Appointment book,
(beep End beep went the microwave)
The hands fell off my watch in the night.
I spoke to the spirit
who took them, told her: Time is the funniest thing
they invented. Had wakened from a big
dream of love in a boat
No time to get the watch fixed so the blank face
lived for months in my dresser,
for hands, just quartz intentions, just the pinocchio
nose (before the lie)
left in the center; the watch
didn’t have twenty minutes; neither did I.
My girl was doing
her gym clothes by herself; (red leaked
toward black, then into the white
insignia) I was grading papers,
heard her call from the laundry room:
Hawking says there are two
types of it,
real and imaginary (imaginary time must be
like decaf), says it’s meaningless
to decide which is which
but I say: there was tomorrow-
when I started thinking about it; now
there’s less than a day. More
the thing that keeps being said. I thought
I could get more done as in:
fish stew from a book. As in: Versateller
archon, then push-push-push
the tired-tired around the track like a planet.
Legs, remember him?
Our love—when we stagger—lies down inside us. . .
there are little folds in time
(actually he calls them wormholes)
but I say:
there’s a universe beyond
where they’re hammering the brass cut-outs .. .
Push us out in the boat and leave time here—
(because: where in the plan was it written,
You’ll be too busy to close parentheses,
the snapdragon’s bunchy mouth needs water,
even the caterpillar will hurry past you?
Pulled the travel alarm
to my face: the black
behind the phosphorous argument kept the dark
from being ruined. Opened
the art book
—saw the languorous wrists of the lady
in Tissot’s “Summer Evening.” Relaxed. Turning
gently. The glove
(just slightly—but still:)
opened Hawking, he says, time gets smoothed
into a fourth dimension
but I say
space thought it up, as in: Let’s make
a baby space, and then
it missed. Were seconds born early, and why
didn’t things unhappen also, such as
the tree became Daphne. . .
At the beginning of harvest, we felt
the seven directions.
Time did not visit us. We slept
With one voice I called him, with one voice
I let him sleep, remembering
summer years ago,
I had come to visit him in the house of last straws
and when he returned
above the garden of pears, he said
our weeping caused the dew. . .
I have borrowed the little boat
and I say to him Come into the little boat,
you were happy there;
the evening reverses itself, we’ll push out
onto the pond,
or onto the reflection of the pond,
whichever one is eternal
Last updated December 17, 2022