Isn’t it still before?

Everything about the hour is difficult—
Its sixty minutes, so much like sisters,
Curiously similar, impossible twins,
Looking at you funny; the rain falling,
Collapsing all our awareness. We’re left
Sniffing the air, incompetent truffling pigs.
We’re lost and we cannot find treasure.
Windows frighten you. Closets, thresholds
Now to terrors. The laundry pretends to sleep
In its basket. Fevers rise. Clocks sliced
Clean through rebel, slowing as you watch.
Time, temperamental as sugar pulled
Into taffy, soft crack, stuck in your teeth.
It is too early. For sleep, it’s too late.

To my daughter

In Joshua, when the Sun stands still
And the Moon stays as long as she’s needed,
It’s the Book of Jasher that get cited
In a tone of voice recalling every nodding elder
Who would shrug at your troubles,
May this be the worst thing that ever happens
To you; the women will feed you pastries next,
Heavy with dried fruit, honey, the strength
Of their arms kneading leavened dough;
A sustenance against agonies. Jasher, meaning
The just man, the upright, correct, a footnote
Worth noting; lost, fraudulent, co-opted, flashy,
Swagger; songs sung against night, taking
The place of tears. A reference, a fixed point,
A minor note held longer than we thought possible
For joining. You told me I made up something true.
You didn’t even smile, because candor
Doesn’t require any adornment, acknowledgement,
An ungilded lily, your mind moving over the waters.
Behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher.

DAISY BASSEN is a poet and practicing physician who graduated from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Her work has been published in Oberon, McSweeney’s, and [PANK] among other journals. She was the winner of the So to Speak 2019 Poetry Contest, the 2019 ILDS White Mice Contest, and the 2020 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize. She was doubly nominated for the 2019 Best of the Net Anthology and for a 2019 and 2020 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Rhode Island with her family.