I Travel Back in Time

I travel back in time to find a woman by a pond,
embroidery hoop in hand, her needle
dipping and rising
like a dolphin
                          as she hand-crafts
a selfie.
                         She inclines herself to ponder
her image in the water, then chooses a bit of wool
to catch the light that flecks
her eye.
                        “Wow,” I say. “Awesome.”
She blushes and says, “Prithee good sir, speak
not of what inspires awe
                         here beside this humble pond
whilst I dabble with my cloth and cord,
                         imperfect as I am.”
“Whatever,” I say, “It’s all good.”
This is how I study history. I go there.
           I see the sights and smell the smells
which often entail fresh
                         dung, spring
                         rain, and copious animal odors.
Needlework done, she will hang it on the chestnut trees
             that line the lane beside her home.
                         I encourage her to do this
as a sort of status update,
                         to let folks know
              she’s looking good and living her best life,
phrases I have brought her as mantras from the future
              where we are fully committed to such things.
Over time,
              people will learn to drop rose petals
     in the basket beneath her image
                        to indicate their approval
and she will finally be able to count them up
                        to see how much she’s worth.

About the author

Michael Bazzett’s fifth book of poems, The Echo Chamber, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2021. His work has appeared in The American Poetry…

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Issue 24 · Autumn 2021

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