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Because you're still in another time zone disparate things

  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.

    Mantis 13

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