Chronos the Sad Bastard by Shannon Cawley
my concept of time is as naked as i was when i slid in the mud at the local park and didn’t have any extra clothes to wear, so i sat in a green towel (freezing as an unthreaded jeans hole) and watched the trees become one big smear by the thumb of G/god.
my concept of time is as malevolent as when i tried to appease hospital vital signs and snoring roommates; the one i shared fake wooden upholstery with had to go in the quiet room and she screamed and she cried about how her family was dead and nothing could help her. the room was the smallest and most silent it had ever been that day.
days moved by slow and i moved real fast—
throw the toys over there turn on the tv turn it off give daddy a kiss tell mommy she’s the best puke up the spoiled milk get my face smashed into the bouncy house at the arena having children activities wear plaid skirts fake cry at a birthday party i had thrown for me in preschool because being dramatic in the presence of people who didn’t know better was funny go over to the “grandpa’s”
eat hamburgers with pepper salt and hot sauce eat mashed potatoes with pepper salt and hot sauce go over in my robe play hunting games on the playstation one kiss “grandpa” a bunch kiss him more than i should have kiss him sloppy kiss him fast so it’s over with white underwear in the middle of the night hands with the sun spotted skin brown like the door my father always slammed returning the favor of drunken military dads and deadbeat miracles
this is when time became a stop sign on an intermediate highway.
time is a dying relative 40 miles away with no gas money and an enormous truck with an even larger gas tank. i need 20 dollars to say goodbye, i do not have 20 dollars. i have a pack of cigarettes, i have a lighter; i have mobile death, i can make it on time.
am/pm is a prescription medication i haven’t taken in two weeks and the sight of my boyfriend naked makes me scared and it makes me sick. he is not the sloppy kisses, he is different. this is ok, i tell myself; my veins are brighter and my fingernails are thicker. this shows improvement, i am an adult now. i am in control. the white underwear is dissolved into the backyard with the rusty shovels and crochet balls. the past is always here until it becomes your martyr, and it is mine.
i have no right to comment on time, though i am a part of the platform as much as everyone else. i am a bystander to the cemeteries of broken hands and tickless clocks—i am helpless, i am so helpless that no might as well have meant fuck, and yes was a ballad constructed by winged dead saints and flat manifest destinies.
i am better now that i tuned out the significance of numbers arranged so thoroughly on a circular dish in the mundanely attainable sky. i am better now because the late slip paper cuts are healed and the absences have been pushed aside into a trash bin with the rest of ink stained octopus thoughts, tangent and attached and flailing—
time is my friend, and i am its bottomless crusader.
Shannon Cawley is a high school student in West Virginia, who’s really excited to be 18 and likes to write poetry. She is attending WVU in the fall of 2016 and plans on majoring in secondary education, specializing in English. You can see more of Shan on both Twitter and Instagram.