Four Seasons and a Time Accident

Four Seasons and a Time Accident
Photo by Anders Jildén / Unsplash
You know I dreamed about you / For 29 years / Before I saw you
— ‘Slow Show’ — The National


This would be a love story, written in four acts, each tied to a season, but you aren’t here yet.

I wish you were. It’s no good for my theme.  While I wait for you to amble into my life, I’m waiting like a character in a Beckett play, the very image of poetic pointlessness.  See the clouds bisected by sun.  I wait, and I know you can created a better image.  But my mind — somehow — is on thoughts of you, hovering and pulsing in the hinterland of my life, somewhere just out of reach.

It is really heating up now.  There is sweat between my fingers.  My feet squelch.  When you come,  don’t want you to see me like this, all red and hot and flushed, melanin-deficient.  When you come, let me be cooled in a glade of swaddling trees; let the air about me unthicken; let me beckon you forward in white linens.

You aren’t here yet.  The sun is at its apogee.  The earth hums.


You came.  But I’d already created you by then, and I spent time trying to map you — physical, tangible you — to the model I’d created.  The rivers run colder.  The sun stops, metal cooling on a soldering iron.  Ducks dart in nervy flight.

I brought you to this park because I knew getting outside would be good for me.  We walk around the pond and I don’t talk to you.  I walk too fast; I grit my teeth against your slowness.


Slow to a crawl.  Hibernate.  Let the blood cool.  Unfurl a blanket across the sky and sweep the stars away.  Rabbits, foxes, priests: to your holes, to your holes.  Now is when we cake ourselves in dirt, stiffen the sinews against the tightness of barbed cold.

Everything is a mirror. All surfaces shine, hard and glittering. Not you, though.  You are not a mirror.  You are just yourself.  You bundle me up, a hatchling, and pray over me.  You pray for warmth.  You press your body close and let me feel the rhythmic song of yourself.

Some time after this, you take me to the lake.  It has frozen over.


The morning after the clocks change, I see everything.

The clocks changed differently for me.  Some ghost in the machine put this time out of joint.  Now, time unravels in front of me, ribboning off in every direction.  Here we are, again and again, negatives on celluloid, the filmstrips shooting off in every direction.  I can see who I was.  I can see who I am.  I can see where I’m going.  I can see my whole life, shot-for-shot.

The earth hums, warms.  I pick up the film, run it through my hands.  I look at each picture of myself.

You’re in every single one.