Time Traveller by Erica Sternin


Stefano Corso from flickr Creative Commons

The Grandmother comes as soon as I close my eyes.
There is no “when” other than this shell that she is holding,
Conch? I wonder. Abalone, oyster? No response. Wrong question.
She stands on the beach, tangy green wavelets surge past her sturdy brown legs
The dark penumbra of her hair a halo around the shell
Which she raises slightly to catch my attention.

In the shell I see…
The beach reflected – upside down.
The palms, the sky, the tide line are mirrored, but reversed.
My eyes water, heart flutters. I can’t make sense of it.
“I don’t get it.”
Staring makes it worse.
The Grandmother holds the cosmos upside down in a shell
As if there were no tomorrow. As long as it takes. There is no time.
Eyelashes meet. Separate. Blink. A thousand thousand life times.
On the bus, driving my car. Blink. World upside down.

The word arrives: “Perception”
A diagram of the eyeball and a tree and an “X” between them
The tree is reversed on the retina and the explanation is,
The ever faithful brain scrambles
Like a German Shepard dog to put things right.
Really, hough, the world is upside down,
And perception is not reality.

The Grandmother’s eyes, riding the rim of the shell
Crinkle with approval.
See ya next time, Old Woman.



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