Field Notes, by Simrat Kang

“The Clock Moves Backward”


Days measured in stutters,

Arms and legs rustle through a long list of 

Stagnant truths:

A few lines to hum each day.


Cigarettes consumed, roses wilted, cream pots emptied.

The clock moves backward.


A uniform scattering of your laundry line:

Beiges and greys. 

Tiles cracked around the porcelain bathtub,

Scene of so many prayers:

The taking in of men;

Purges from the colorful world. 


Pallor turned a uniform ash—

A doing-over of makeup regiments. 


Runs in stockings, dents in pillows, bent soup spoons,

Ticking slowly down. 


Wrists wrung with artifacts,

Identifying marks, your culture: departure. 

Slippers in the cherry oak doorway—

Sentry in ruby and taupe—catching visitors in stride.

Your island among 

The onset of their strain of homogeny,

A grey-tone-world. 


Cracked tea cups, consumed papers, extra freckles.

Fading in the sun


Flowerbeds left untended, 

Their heavy black diamonds frosting kitchen windows,

Petals wearying at empty cupboards,

The full sink. 

“Origami Swans”



I cut you into paper moons while twilight

waited wrapped in the curtain—you proved to be 

the perfect preface to spring rains. 


I stitched you back together, found that there were 

small holes where I had been clumsy; your lungs 

refused to keep to themselves and I grew used to

checking your heartbeat with my pinkie. 


When the sleet hour came—same time as last year—

your hips rocked in time with the rending 

of flour bags and rusted whisks.


I never knew how to translate the screams 

which whispered through the front door. They sang

to you alone. 


The rough edges of your mouth hung dangerous, 

an amber bow unfurling as you wept. Enamored, 

I tied soup spoons in your hair, 

a tinkling warning to the western wind. 


Find me upstairs tomorrow and I will be folding myself 

into origami swans—winged things silent and prayerful—

dappled in light from crescent holes that linger still. 



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