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Clementine Time

by Anna George Meek

There is no time but the time in the kitchen. My father loses track of days, and I buy a "clock" whose only hand moves from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday, as if distinguishing between the days were important. The kitchen walls may measure a passage of time, but past and future are nothing within the space of the kitchen.

Dad is hungry for a clementine; my three-year-old daughter Sarah is hungry for a clementine. I peel one for her and feed her the wedges; my mother peels one for my father. Five minutes later, they do not remember having eaten—may they have an orange? They eat, and then they each put their sticky hands in mine. Dad grins at my mother. In any given hour, he is no more dying than Sarah is getting older. The moment is sweet and I would hold it forever. Just a clementine; then a clementine.

Clementine. Clementine.

Anna George Meek has published in dozens of national journals, such as Poetry, the Kenyon Review, and the Yale Review. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two Minnesota State Arts Board grants. Her work has appeared on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac and has been selected multiple times for both Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. Her first book, Acts of Contortion, won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry; her chapbook Engraved won the Snowbound Chapbook Award. Her second full-length book, The Genome Rhapsodies, won the Richard Snyder Publication Prize from Ashland Poetry Press. Meek lives with her husband and daughter in the Twin Cities, where she sings professionally and is a professor of English.

* This essay originally appeared in River Teeth's Beautiful-Things blog (2019).

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