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Untrustworthy Clock

Caitlin Thomson

Three months ago, my grandmother could walk

around a lake. Five months ago, she lived

in the wilderness with a husky dog. Seven months

ago, she had a driver’s license. Each month stripping

something that was vital from her.


Carefully crafted in her mid-eighties, her hennaed hair

pulled into a bun, heels and gloves for church, her husband’s

work shirts for the garden. Just a year ago she killed


a fawn to put it out of its misery, now she thinks

she gave birth to doll, plastic from flesh. I always imagined

this sort of loss to be slow, but even across the border,

it is not. When I visited last she knew me, my daughter,


but as we talked she gave my father other children,

talked about the four-year-old version of me as if the thirty-one-year

old one did not yet exist. It felt like time travel,


like standing in a storm, leaning into the wind and rain,

but being safe on the pier—we did that once, in Florida, my family and I,

but not my grandmother, her nails painted and chipped,

her eyes looking at my daughter, asking us where she came from.

Caitlin Thomson has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals including: The Adroit Journal, Rust + Moth, Barrow Street, and Eleven, Eleven. You can learn more about her writing at

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