Modest O’Clock

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Without fanfare, my whole personal
temporal sense turned suddenly
unassuming. Seconds,
minutes, hours now still remain,
but all those former
perennial favourites — weeks,
months, years (not to mention
on a grander scale decades, centuries,
aeons) — excite little interest.
I just don’t have the time.

Teaching English

Casually chatting after a lesson
on time, I ask Mr. Quyên
how long he’s been in Australia.
He stares through his glasses
up at the low ceiling
as his wife bashes squid on the kitchen floor
with the flat of a huge knife.
When he’s ready with his answer
he looks straight at me smiling and says:
“Half-past five years.”