time

by Ceridwen Hall

an old woman reads a story
to a little girl; time is the cat
sleeping in their laps
or half-awake, purring and shedding

because poems arrest time
or catch time napping, 
the girl is not growing restless
nor the grandmother tired

time has heard this story before,
often enough to know how it ends and begins,
but the details in the middle change a little 
with each telling, like the rain falling outside
and then ceasing, like the patterns in time’s fur

happily ever after 
the grandmother will say and forget
the girl will repeat and forget
and remember many years later
how time followed them
downstairs and around the yard
in a wide circle

_____

Ceridwen Hall is a poet, essayist, and educator from Ohio. She holds a PhD from the University of Utah and is the author of two chapbooks: Automotive (Finishing Line Press), fields drawn from subtle arrows (Co-winner of the 2022 Midwest Chapbook Award). Her full-length collection, Acoustic Shadows, is forthcoming from Broadstone Books. Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Tar River Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, Craft, Poet Lore, and other journals. You can find her at www.ceridwenhall.com.