What I know about time (3) – haibun


I’m telling her the story. ‘There’s a scene in Inland Empire where Lorna Dern —’

‘It’s Laura,’ she says.


‘You said Lorna. It’s Laura Dern, the actress, long horsey face, doe eyes.’

We’re lying in bed following the cracks in the ceiling pretending they’re rivers. And I say, ‘Yeah OK, so Laura is talking to this weird Eastern European woman who’s just turned up at her door and pushed her way in — she’s Russian or something.’

‘You don’t know?’ she asks.

‘It’s not clear. So she—‘

‘—the witch?’

‘—the hag says, “What do I know about time. If it was nine forty-five, I’d probably think it was after midnight. And if it was tomorrow, over there you’ll be.” And then she points over there and Lorna can’t stop herself—’

‘There you go again,’ she says pushing the blanket away and getting up. ’It’s Laura: L-A-U-R-A.’

‘Hey, I haven’t…finished.’

She’s banging about in the kitchen.

‘Drink. I need a drink.’

‘You could have coffee? I could put the machine—’

‘Don’t want coffee, don’t want tea or camomile. I want a D-R-I-N-K — ‘

A bottle, a teacup and saucer, a box of cereal tumble to the floor.

‘Let me —’

But she holds up her stop-sign hand — the hand that says don’t touch, don’t help, don’t do any stupid thing or so help me I’m just going to explode all over you.

Fine. ‘Try the top shelf, there’s some brandy.’

More banging about, more containers accelerating at 9.8 metres per second per second. Per second per second.


‘Where will you go?’

‘The fuck you care,’ she says.

‘Can’t you just…come back to bed?’ (I should be stronger, less pathetic, less of a whiner.)

‘I’ve seen the future, it spoke to me.’ She holds the green tumbler up to the light and looks deep into the honey-coloured swirl.

‘…the future,’ she says again quietly.


The dog’s breath is a cloud,
the grass crunches &
the pool is crusted with ice.

Final instalment to come. The story continues (or starts) here and here. A haibun is a poetic form which combines prose and a haiku. Inland Empire is a film directed by David Lynch.

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