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Four Definitions for the Use of Time
by Carolyn Moore


Your book club neighbor chats across the fence
of marginalia you’d feel rude to halt.
You’re late for the doctor’s bad news redefining
late as good. (Here, time as minutes saved
before the clock’s face and hands tic with fear.)


Our dead forget all of their favorite colors
but not how we felt when our red wine stained
their table’s open grain. (Time as rebuke,
selective as trout hungry for nymphs,
and you with nothing but dry flies to pimp.)


The lawn defines itself once grass aligns
with like shades cordoned off from random greens.
(Linear pastime, two deft steps to where
Aristotle applauds your logic’s genus,
differentia, and cool distraction.)


The ER doctor said the midnight skunk
saved your life. Its stench woke you in time.
(Here, a temporal housemaid scours grit
from crisis, rasps and files time’s rough, chipped edge—
though if chafed too long, the fault fissures anew.)


Consider circles in dreams that make you sweat:
those rubber loops back to unfinished grief.
That pain, like time, is useful for its waste.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 4.

Carolyn Moore’s four chapbooks won their respective competitions, the most recent of which, The Seven Deadlies, was published by Interrobang?!  in 2012. Her book-length collection, What Euclid’s Third Axiom Neglects To Mention about Circles, came out in 2013 as winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. Moore taught at Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA) until able to earn her way as a freelance writer working from the last vestige of the family farm in Tigard, Oregon.

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