Poetry

Stop-Time

by
• 171 words

One day he will want more
than comfort, the bustle
of the market, more than life’s

old mechanism circling
over every word with oily teeth. One day
as he is barrelling toward the corner

his brakes will snap.
He’s gnashed for speed
his whole life and now

it’s stopping short he’ll be after.
In that long moment
he will think what else

will fail me
and what have I failed?
He will turn his head,

watch the cars
coming, the cable against his thigh
like a tentacle. It is beginning

to snow again. The seasons
have stopped and he hopes
something is happening,

that there exists a centre
and directions, down and up.
He would have liked

to be unstoppable. He is not unhappy.
The first cars are exhalations away.
No one can stop

and he will wonder idly
whether it will hurt, idly
because he has all the time in the world. This

is all the time in the world.

This appeared in the November 2012 issue.

Katia Grubisic earned the 2009 Lampert Memorial Award for best debut book of poetry, with What If Red Ran Out.