- Shift in Time, and: Out of Thin Air
Shift in Time
After our summer’s absence, floors complained of neglect, creaking as we walked to part the dusty curtains. Toys I’d left lay inert as unwatered plants. Nothing smelled right. The air wasn’t ours, and sheets I slipped into were musty winding cloths for a mummy.
Where was the cat that had curled on my legs, thumps of my sister’s heels when she stalked the hall? The cat was at home in some field, my sister, tired by our journey, slept, and I tried to believe one season’s gap was not enough to make me a stranger.
Out of Thin Air
On a slippery crystal I nudged the wire, whisker that never again might find the frail place between me and silence. Under covers in bed I held my breath, flashlight making a milk-white dome, forbidden empire of distant places— Chicago or the Xanadu of Miami.
Parents planned to teach me mysteries of Science, but I rode the radio’s magic [End Page 45] to places so far away I dared to hope of being there or be whoever I wanted.
And so I slid into dreams and woke to familiar light and walls, sheets spread like a pall across the lumps of myself. Hide it under the bed before they come to wake me, those loving givers of miracles who also one by one slipped out of contact.
Only evasive crystals of memory can tune them in through static and silence. [End Page 46]
T. Alan Broughton is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and nea Award. He has published novels, poems, stories, and essays. He lives in Burlington, Vermont, and is a professor of English at the University of Vermont.