by Monica Berlin
Because you’re still in another time zone disparate things
surface. Like how, years ago, a young woman held open
a date-book scribbled over & said, All my days look
like car accidents. I hadn’t thought to look at the pages.
Or how, lately, my son remakes the world every time
he doesn’t know the word spoken, repeating back what
he thinks he heard—quad becoming cloud, noose into news.
Don’t stop me if I’ve told you any of this before.
He had one tense for a whole year. Twelve months
of the present verb might almost explain the sound
my mother’s shoulders still make in the thirty-year dark,
darker, where she cries for my dead father long before
he dies. Day after car accident-ridden day. It wouldn’t matter
if we wanted to, we can’t forget everything,
& I’m pretty sure we don’t get to choose.
Once, as a very cold & drowsy child, I adjusted
the thermostat as far as it would go. I awoke certain
the house was on fire. I laugh to tell it now, but sometimes
even that heat comes back. Today I tell my son the way
to make a thing not scary is to look completely
at the thing itself. When someone touches my hair I turn
to find a woman I’ve never seen before. Sorry, she says,
I just want to feel something real again, quickly passing.