MusingWith: Poem & Responses

after and before

Kandice Chuh


The hours and minutes before the sun rises, when the sky just begins to think about lightening, that is the time closest to time itself, when the fictions of the units we call days find no need, no audience; when there is quiet and solitude but also an intimacy with the others with whom I make home, a time dense with being. The quiet attests to being, to their being and to mine. This is the time of the turquoise shade, of being and inter-being, of finite forms giving way to formlessness, itself a figure of the infinite. I think this may be true, though I cannot prove it. I think this may be true, though I don’t generally think in these terms of this time.

After yesterday and before today, the time of the turquoise shade: this syntax makes time appear to pass. There is a photo of my friend of some three decades, of more than three decades, and me, with our daughters. We remarked how old we looked, how old we had become, and then it struck me that our daughters might look at this image some day and remark how young their mothers once looked, once were.

My son asks what superpower I would have if I could have any: the ability to fly? Extraordinary strength? The ability to freeze? I said I would want the power to give time, to control time. He declares that I am the weirdest mom in the world.

My son, my friend; our daughters. Taken literally, the possessive speaks of inter-being—of possessing and being possessed by. Can individual lives be taken as entangling events? Is it that sense of entanglement, that sensibility of inter-being, that makes the unbearability of loss, of death, bearable? No point establishes the next point, never having been with respect to distance.


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