Time is Cinderella in a round case fastened to my wrist
with a powder blue leather band.
Time is my father holding his alarm clock in his big hands
with me at his side, Cinderella on my arm, explaining.
Time is when to get up, go to school, take a bath, fall asleep.
Time is hands, circling, circling, in a forever dance.
Time is the big hand, thinking it can tell everyone what to do
but it’s only there for a minute and always always
it has something to say about the little hand.
Time is never the big hand by itself
even when Cinderella drowned
in the bathtub still buckled to my wrist
and even when my father said it was time for him to leave us.
Time is to write Cinderella a brand new fairy tale
one that doesn’t require rescue, a prince or a happily every after.
Time is someone else’s until you learn to tell it.
Time is to lose track of her––her hands, big and little
and even the sweeping fairy wand of the seconds.
Time is to drag around like a pull toy every day every hour
thumping through the house behind you.
Time is as incessant as a baby’s cry.
Time is not to waste, but to ignore
to stop keeping her prisoner fastened to my wrist
when my hands are always underwater, in the sink, in the bath
in the kiddie pool, holding on to mother-daughter time.
Time is to hear my children say remember the time…
and half the time I don’t.
Time is told by bodies—crawling, walking, dancing, graduating.
The hands of time play tricks.
Endless yearlong days later seem like minutes
a pile of sand in the bottom of a timer
I’d like to turn over and live through again
understanding this time that no time lasts for all time.