'As Time Goes By', a new poem by Bella Li

Tuesdays Paul comes by. He jogs up the driveway in his striped green shorts and I’m there at the door with Ella on my hip. She’s crying, she’s teething and drooling and crying from the pain, and some days I can’t stand it, I have to call my mother and go for a walk or a drive to the beach and watch the seagulls be ugly to each other. On Tuesdays I wait for Paul, and he always shows up at different times; there’s nothing I can do about it but stay in the house and listen to Ella until I hear the thud of his worn-out sneakers outside. He’s trying to make the football team again, but everybody knows that dream is long gone. Sweetheart, he says, running on the spot. I say, Don’t call me sweetheart. I love you, he says, and Ella cries some more. I wait for him to check his watch and stop running and then I give him the baby and we go inside. I make pastrami sandwiches and we sit and eat with the clock loud in the kitchen. Sometimes Paul looks at me and I look at him. Then I look at Ella and he looks at his watch. It goes by.

Bella Li

Published in May 2019, no. 411
Bella Li

Bella Li

Bella Li's first book, Argosy (Vagabond Press, 2017), won the 2018 Victorian Premier's Award for Poetry and the 2018 NSW Premier's Award for Poetry. Her second book, Lost Lake (Vagabond Press, 2018), was shortlisted for the 2018 Queensland Premier's Award for Poetry.

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