Memory with Reality in It
History is memories hot & cold. I remember standing in front of my first apartment
when, very slowly, my grandmother drove by. She was in her gold Honda looking
around, confused, trying to find . . . me? I didn’t move. This memory has always sat strangely.
Like Joyce says, “Paralysis.” All of my boyhood lost, something uncanny
about how I stood as witness. That day she was distant from home & it was not long
before she died alone in Uncle Mike’s condominium.
The Self-Conscious Clock
Age nine, my daughter surprised me by writing a story called “The Self-Conscious Clock.” She looked up and said her teacher didn’t like it.
I stepped back. "I didn’t know you were writing." She said, "It's about a clock who hates being looked at, so he's trying to stop time. Oh, Dad, it's been hard."
I kissed her head. Already, she hangs at the edge, crossing her arms. She watches the day visible around her, watches sparrows climb toward the distant clouds, watches the black head of the dog laze. In her mind, time is battering the surface of the earth, the world as broken animal hiding its face.
A few days ago, I asked if she solved the plot. She said, "The clock scratched his own guts out. All humans were screaming and crazy. Then one brave little girl gave him more numbers. The end."
Chris Green teaches at DePaul University and his most recent poetry collection is Résumé (Mayapple Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in such publications as Poetry and The New York Times.