Poet Wrestling with the Taking of Time

by Rosebud Ben-Oni

The thing about “it” is that it
continues to happen, & each
time, leaves you
a little less
named.
Don’t call it returning.
When you erupt
from clinging
aisle floor
& nucleus
on bloody milk
glass & shattered
screen & incoming
familiar tones
they mute
while shoving
a warm thing in your loose
grasp. This won’t send you back—
here— as you’re asked
for a year, a place, a name.
All those things that it’s effacing.
Don’t call it nothing
lasts
or
a choice:
feed or fast.
It won’t let you eat your own body.
It keeps you walking when you need
to run to keep your heart
from hearing
footsteps
too heavy
& too close & estranged.
It plots & covets & maims.
It needs to obliterate you from this earth.
All place. & elsewhere. As if you could try
to best. Or give
chase.                              Flashback isn’t a right name. It’s never
singular. It’s never the same. Even when it rushes & rams
again. You are now its explicit particulars
without pinpointing
where & how &
when.
                                                           Trauma feels
                                             too much

                               like past tense. They mean
                well                                                              when they say
                               it takes time.

                                               You know it takes
time.
                                                            It’s not the same
                thing
                                                                           you are
                               facing.
                                                                                         It isn’t
                                                    the same kind
                                                                                                      of taking.

Editors Note: “Poet Wrestling with the Taking of Time” has been altered to fit storySouth‘s online format. You can read the poem in it’s original form here: Poet Wrestling with the Taking of Time by ROSEBUD BEN-ONI


Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of the 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery, forthcoming in 2021, and the author of turn around, BRXGHT XYXS (Get Fresh Books, 2019). Her chapbook 20 Atomic Sonnets, which appears online in Black Warrior Review, (2020) and is part of a larger project called The Atomic Sonnets, which she wrote in honor of the Periodic Table’s 150th Birthday. She is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and CantoMundo. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, POETS.org, The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, Prairie Schooner, Electric Literature, TriQuarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, among others. Her poem “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, and published by The Kenyon Review Online.  She writes for The Kenyon Review blog, and recently edited a special chemistry poetry portfolio for Pleiades. Find her at 7TrainLove.org.