Judith Grissmer – Letting Go of Time

A day before turning seventy
I drove to the secondhand store
with my mother’s grandfather clock.
It was antique white with gold scrolls
and a timepiece made in Germany
that no longer chimed nor told time.
Its glass shelves held her collection
of Royal Doulton figurines
my father bought to please her,
though her pleasure never lasted.

I tried to find a place for it
for years after she died. But I can’t
keep forever what someone else possessed,
besides, before she died she had already
forgotten. I’ve kept her boxed figurines,
hand-painted china, her diamond solitaire.

Ghosts of the dead linger above days,
tangled in memories of what they once loved—
their music lifting from children’s
woodwinds and brass; homesickness
weeping through yellowed letters;
a lover’s poem written before I was born.

My mother still tells time. It is
just before dinner when she arrives,
finds her way back to me through
summer tomatoes simmering,
kettle of yellow corn. For a spell
she lingers, seemingly satisfied, always
happy to be here, beyond time.