about time


I’d promised I’d knock-off early and then I got mad with her because she’d forgotten the blinds again. I told her real country women knew how to handle a heatwave. She said she was under the impression that real country men took their hats off when they came inside so why didn’t I go and have a cold shower and wash off all that muck instead of whinging at her. She was right of course. After I got cleaned up, I came back to the kitchen to check the mail and wait for a cuppa but she came up behind me, threw a towel across my shoulders, pushed down hard with both hands and said Don’t move. And before I know it, she’s combing my hair, first with her fingers and then that scratchy old comb. It felt pretty good until she started going on and on about time: never enough time, no time for each other, making time, and all the while she’s combing and snipping and grumbling with the scissors flying so wild I feared for my ears. Then all of a sudden she stopped–went very quiet–flicked off the towel. She was still behind me though. I could feel my neck prickling but I didn’t move, I didn’t say a word. I just stayed there until I felt her hands on my shoulders again, pressing so hard with her thumbs I had to drop my head. Then she moves in closer, bends over me and starts blowing away the hair–with little breaths and pauses–breaths and pauses. And she was right of course. It was about time.




Gillian Telford is a NSW poet whose work is published regularly in journals & anthologies. Her first collection, Moments of Perfect Poise (Ginninderra) was published in 2008. Longer poem sequences were shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize in 2006 & 2009. Gillian's poem 'about time' appears in Famous Reporter 44.