Monday, December 7, 2015

In Other's Words

I Have a Time Machine by Brenda Shaughnessy

But unfortunately it can only travel into the future  
at a rate of one second per second,
which seems slow to the physicists and to the grant 
committees and even to me.
But I manage to get there, time after time, to the next  
moment and to the next.
Thing is, I can’t turn it off. I keep zipping ahead—  
well, not zipping—And if I try 
to get out of this time machine, open the latch,  
I’ll fall into space, unconscious,
then desiccated! And I’m pretty sure I’m afraid of that.  
So I stay inside.
There’s a window, though. It shows the past. 
It’s like a television or fish tank
but it’s never live, it’s always over. The fish swim
in backward circles.
Sometimes it’s like a rearview mirror, another chance  
to see what I’m leaving behind,
and sometimes like blackout, all that time  
wasted sleeping.
Myself age eight, whole head burnt with embarrassment  
at having lost a library book.
Myself lurking in a candled corner expecting 
to be found charming.
Me holding a rose though I want to put it down  
so I can smoke.
Me exploding at my mother who explodes at me  
because the explosion
of some dark star all the way back struck hard  
at mother’s mother’s mother.
I turn away from the window, anticipating a blow.  
I thought I’d find myself
an old woman by now, travelling so light in time.  
But I haven’t gotten far at all.
Strange not to be able to pick up the pace as I’d like;  
the past is so horribly fast.

Listen to the author read the poem here.

No comments:

Post a Comment