Kitchen Clock by Alice Teeter

The old cat is a loaf of bread hunkered down on a cushioned kitchen chair where the heat vent blows. She’s quiet. Above her, the clock on the wall ticks on and on. It is unclear what the time really is.

In the summer, he would stay out all night, coming back every morning to be fed, until that last morning when he wasn’t — an eternal blankness sat where he should have sat — the six-toed wonder, that purring bruiser. There was a telephone repair truck on the street that day. We saw the same truck later, miles away, in another neighborhood. We’re sure that’s where he lives now.

Years after they died, we saw them drive up the steep drive in their old dark blue Chevy sedan — a land yacht. He spun the tires at the bottom — we could hear the ruts made new again — the gravel flying. The car broke rhododendron limbs right and left — blossoms falling into the ditches. He jumped out quickly, dressed in his usual khaki pants and work shirt. She was slow getting out of the car — she had on a green paisley scarf that hid her black hair but brought out her eyes. We went out on the porch and waited. They didn’t recognize my brother or me — we are so very old.


Alice Teeter’s most recent book, Mountain Mother Poems, was published in 2017 by Finishing Line Press. Previous books include Elephant Girls (2015 Adrich Press), and When It Happens To You… (2009 Star Cloud Press). A Florida native, she has lived in Pine Lake, Georgia, for many years.

Photo by m0851