by Chessy Normile
All the books on time
are pretty good. 
When the boat carrying bubonic plague was approaching 
the Sicilian harbor of Messina everyone on shore said, 
“Wait… look,
something’s wrong with that boat,
it’s moving too slowly and only
a few oars hit the water at a time.”
They watched it come towards them.
When the boat arrived 
they saw how everyone 
was either dead or dying.
There’s an essay I’m purposefully not going to cite
because I think t.s. eliot gets enough attention
that says the books we read now change
the books that were written before them. 
They actually change them. 
This is time inconstant. 
There are different types of time:
Earth time
Sacred time
Another type concerned with human behavior,
for instance, collecting figs, erecting columns, returning goats
Tropical time
Star time
Atomic time
Dream time, supposedly,
And a type of time 
that undoes itself,
lets me read the book that Amy wrote—
which deals primarily with elephant grief—
and then read "The Wasteland”
to find it populated with the deaths of elephants 
whom I had not realized in high school were there.
if you don’t believe me, 
try this:
Read a letter I wrote you five years ago. 
Read it now. 
Read it after reading 
each subsequent letter I sent, 
in particular the ones 
where I admit,
"I have loved you 
from across the wall.”