All the clocks show different times and she can’t get herself off the couch. She just keeps counting to figure out which one ticks closest to reality. The bicycle one is five minutes ahead of the TV one, which is three and a half minutes behind the mounted, yellow one. She doesn’t actually care about the time, but she thinks if she counts the time’s difference actively enough it’ll be equal to actual activity. And the yellow one is at least seven minutes fast. The couch makes a permanent imprint on her back. She’s forgotten the smell of the sidewalk.


Alissa Babaeva currently lectures at Moscow State University on English literature and grammar. She received her Bachelor of Arts English degree from James Madison University, and has poetry published in several anthologies and zines in the Harrisonburg area.

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