Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

Timing

Timing
Photograph via Flickr by josef.stuefer

When she comes in to tell me,
“People have been wounded,”
I say “I know”
before she has time to finish.

There’s been another bombing
and all I can think of is how,
inside, I am a terrorized city
and selfish.

When the sun rises in the morning,
I note the way my apartment gathers no light,
how I only see it on weekends
and, even then, in glimpses

from beneath the browning fingers of trees
and shoulders of other houses on the cliff.
I am the last to receive
the gentle shadow, an echo of light—sometimes,

a little wind. All living is a breaking,
I want to tell her after she’s clarified what’s happened,
of light on surfaces too warm already,
of a sky too full to hold

all its rain and thunder. “How is this
happening again?” she wonders
in the voice I know should not be
answered—cannot. Her eyes are on the clock

of the microwave, which has never been
right in the five years I’ve worked here.
“That’s broken,” I say instead,
startling her. But then she eases her shoulders, answers,

“Yes. That’s the word for it.
This place of ours, this world we live in?
It’s nothing but broken.
I knew you’d understand.”