I know all about the kind of time that’s left; the slow boil hour just before
I have to leave: make the bed, clean the kitchen, touch the table, touch
the lamp —circle —circle —and still leave sooner than I need. My father
liked to run out to get the paper, a way to make more time I think
—slow the record —stretch out the day with a stretch of road and radio
—easy turns into empty streets: just another circle slowly circling, a way
to go for going really no where at all. He’d hustle like something’s
coming fast and to leave the house is to get out of harm’s way or maybe
like something’s missing here and so he’d leave to bring it back. And now
this day’s tight urgent edge, sharp with trying to get to something quick,
to finish this before starting that, has the clock hands peeling hours;
the way I’d watch my father peel an apple with a glistening knife:
a ribbon of red twisting to the kitchen floor — the meaty pulp already turning
brown even before the blade for the last time circles round.
Noah Stetzer’s work has appeared in various journals including the New England Review, Nimrod, Belleview Literary Review, and as part of the HIV: Here and Now Project (Indolent Books). His chapbook Because I Can See Needing a Knife was published by Red Bird in 2016. Born & raised in Pittsburgh PA, Noah lives in the Washington DC area and can also be found at www.noahstetzer.com.