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Jennie Josephson
Tell It Anyway

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Time heals all wounds

but we’re the ones who made it hurt.

We track time like an animal.

Punch in, punch out.

Beat the buzzer.

Hit the bottom of the hour.

Cut to traffic on the ones.

Tell you what.

The universe doesn’t care what time it is.

The universe doesn’t care what time, is.

We did that.

It wasn’t enough to watch the sun

pass over the sand and sink into the water.

We stole sand by the handful

and sealed the grains in a shapely glass.

Forced the sand to fall

over

and over

and over again.

Til the tiny particles forgot

they had once danced in the ocean.

The fog rolls in.

I can’t tell the sky from the mountains

but I hear the ticking.

There were clocks in every room of

my father’s apartment.

Clocks in radios, on walls

at the end of every eye-line.

There was a clock so important it hung behind glass

and a clock that lived in the belly of a plastic cat.

My father lived in a mad symphony of overlapping seconds, Sousa marches and 4/4 operettas.

All to mask the sounds of his own fickle ticker, seven stents to the wind.

High tide and low tide were too tied to the moon

to keep my father’s time.

This man, who told the city what time it was

in the morning hours of the revolution,

could not keep time to anyone else’s beat.

I hear the

crunch-crunch

crunch-crunch

of my feet on the crusted sand.

This is the sound time makes.

We chose this sound.

Sent it to war

taught computers to tap it in binary

and strapped it to our wrists with platinum chains.

All this so I could know, with precision,

how late I am to my own life.

What a victory.

What sorcery!

To turn time into currency and never look back.

We heard the steady beat of wings

against the air

and trapped this gift in a black plastic case

lit by angry red numbers.

Made the ephemeral beep at us til we could no longer hit snooze.

We learned to deadline.

Cracked that hourglass and drew a line in the sand

so we could cross it at the last minute

and create the illusion of wind.

On deadline, my father created his own weather

but it was never sunny.

The fog rolled in.

It was hard to see the time.

Or his daughter, eating stale bagels in the kitchen.

Our lives are deadlines now.

Some of us pee in bottles

some take high status bio breaks,

which is just to say:

I know you are sitting in a virtual holding pen

with a frozen smile,

but I have lost all my time and must borrow yours to pee.

My father’s life looks less mad

from this future.

He dialed his telephone to check the time.

My phone is all of my time.

I can order fresh bagels to my front door in 15 minutes

but they never taste the same.

The all-nighter is the loneliest trick of the time thieves.

Not the night shift,

an honorable way to wreck your health.

But a deadline so hot it’s a rock around the clock.

I had a deadline that night,

to finish something no one needed

by morning.

He called from his hospital bed, frantic.

I have to get out of here, he said.

I have to go home.

I told my dad I didn’t have time to talk

and then he died.

Jennie Josephson is a writer who doesn’t understand why Medium won’t allow the proper spacing for poetry.

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