The Day of Too Few Hours, prose poetry by Joan Leotta at
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The Day of Too Few Hours

The Day of Too Few Hours

written by: Joan Leotta



It used to be, days felt short. Hours tightly packed, a balancing act of playing with children, cooking, writing, cleaning. Sometimes they were words for fun, other times, paid words, under contract, on deadline that tumbled from my fingers while I stirred the sauce, took a call from an interviewee, called the children inside, prepared a story performance.

As the years progressed, our children left home, the hours seemed at first to plod from sun to sun, then, as I settled into that rhythm, the days shrank like cheap cotton dried at too high a heat. And the telescoping of the day continues apace.

Mornings need a long stretch of cups of coffee before I can face the shower and dress.
Afternoons, whether I am reading or working, seem to cry out for a break. Often, however, instead of tea, I sit down and my eyes flutter into a nap. When I dare the occasional walk, I note that it takes longer and longer to count the same number of neighborhood mailboxes in our circle. When evening comes, my pen drops from my hand too soon and my favorite book falls off the bed before I can finish a chapter.

My dreams send me into former days when I could walk and work at my former speed. There, I consume hours like chocolates, precious, tasty hours, a boxful—adequate for all my needs, filled with cream delights of tasks well done.

These dreams do not reform the daytime, sadly. My days now have too few hours to suit my desires. I would moan over the loss, but I have come to realize that there is another stage in my progression of hours–that soon, there will be none at all.

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