About Saving a Nick in Time

by Kristina Woodhill

For days now
their grandfather clock
in the living room has been ticking along

15 minutes ahead of the school clock
hanging on the dining room wall

rooms adjoined by
open walk-through

hard wood floor
to soft green carpet

a passage
fifteen minutes of separation

daughter stood staring
at this potent disparity

these two
contrasting ticks and tocks

and, in a stroke
of time-space genius

made a bargain
with The One who bends the Rules

daughter giving up
two weeks of her life

to go back

straighten up the mess
made by feline and old female

finding herself subsequently in the “then”
at the top of the stairs


observing the cat
just finishing its breakfast

cat sitting on the living room carpet
licking its chops

beginning to do
its pre-puke squirm and meowering

while daughter waves
to ancient mother slowly

assembling her own breakfast
a few feet away in the kitchen

cat is scooped up
set outside the front door

where it can puke its guts out
unobserved by revered mother

carefully placing herself
her hot coffee cup,
her plate carrying bear claw and one third of banana
at the dining room table

thereby suspending
previous events
of beloved mother
rearing up

upon hearing cat puking indoors,
mother not catching clumsy feet
on table leg
not doing her downward dance
with the twisting walker
not breaking her fall
or her collar bone
not tearing arm flesh
nor kissing head on cabinet corner,
gash to be stapled shut

smearing the floor


daughter exhales
from the living room

blows her sleepy mother
in the dining room a kiss

ascends the stairs
while winking at their grandfather clock
on the landing

brushing her teeth


Posted on 09/07/2017
Copyright © 2021 Kristina Woodhill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 09/09/17 at 09:51 PM

Certainly adds rich new meaning to 'in the nick of time.' Puking cats, I am no stranger to, though don't always have the fortune to put them outside, especially in the middle of a Canadian winter. Evocative read Kristina. Lends to easy visualisation of all that goes on here. Kudos!

Posted by Laura Doom on 09/17/17 at 01:18 PM

A poem of many subtle pleasures to complement the implicitly explicit i.e.
and the blatantly sick.
An oblique reference to the mundane Kevin Bacon phenomenon with temporal overtones
a passage
fifteen minutes of separation

a dual-choice reader perspective
time-space genius/
The One who bends the Rules

and a vesatile action device
daughter exhales
from the living room

amongst other harmonic disparities.
Yes, a potent 'sliding doors' scenario, balancing genuine respect with playful irreverence.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 12/20/17 at 12:01 AM

Ah! To be able to go back and capture 15 and manipulate it for another future... or reorder a nick here or there! Great images, especially of that favorite of species. Thanks Kristina. This was fun.

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