‘And What We Know About Time’ by Tania Hershman


When it failed to alarm, my father
took the clock apart. Laid it
all out on the kitchen table. While the dog
dreamed and snored, we watched him
clean every piece, then, with breaths held,
attempt reassembly. It worked

perfectly for the next ten years, which was odd,
given the sixteen horological components
my father couldn’t fit back in. (They
lived out their days in that kitchen drawer
designated for such things.)

There must have been someone, somewhere,
now – like my father, like the dog,
the kitchen table and that drawer –
long gone, who once knew
exactly what those sixteen parts were for.
(first published in the Irish Examiner)
Listen to Tania Hershman reading ‘And What We Know About Time’ on SoundCloud.
Tania Hershman is the author of a poetry chapbook, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open (Southword, 2016), 2nd prize winner in the 2015 Fool for Poetry contest, and two short story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008), and co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury, Dec 2014). A third short story collection and her debut poetry collection (Nine Arches Press) will be published in 2017. Tania is curator of ShortStops, celebrating short story activity across the UK & Ireland, a Royal Literary Fund fellow at Bristol University and is working on a hybrid prose/poetry book inspired by particle physics for her PhD in Creative Writing.