The Arrow of Time

As part of the Draw Write Here project, Sue Blaustein and Thea Kovac collaborated as writer and artist responding to the a topic in their medium, swapping work and responding to their partner’s work, creating illustrated stories. This conversation began with Sue’s poetry.

What are screws and bolts,

and washers?

What is thrift? What is order?
What is “class” and what’s

true flavor?

What’s “before”? What is “after”?
Is “now” always stuck
between the two?
Can they change places?

How does it matter?

Someone’s packing up a workshop,

cleaning a garage.

Someone is sorting and deciding.

And says:

Don’t toss those, they’re still OK.

Take them to Goodwill.

I got

twenty inch-long
hex-head bolts,
and nineteen lock washers
in a sturdy, shapely

glass jar.

I liked the jar.

The plastic top is red
and says “High Point”.

I set my Google search terms.

“High Point”
“glass jar”

High Point

was a brand of instant decaf!

Came out in 1980…

That explains the swagger

of the typeface.

High Point commercials
featured Lauren Bacall.

They’re on YouTube.

YouTube – the past-on-demand.

I watched.

There was my jar!
Touted by an icon

for my parent’s generation,

whose golden age
into my time.

Class, sass,
sophistication –

I don’t need the caffeine…

She winks.

I’m active enough, thank you.

It’s 1981 on my screen,

2017 where I sit.

Who can choke down instant decaf


But when

Lauren vamps, and lifts the handsome jar,
and shows us the brown crystals,

and tells us:

The flavor is deep

and rich,

you almost wish

the brand hadn’t been pulled

in 1993.

It’s 2017.

Look at what I learned

in minutes!

My transparent jar
must be at least 24 years old.

Still good for something –
the threads on the bolts

are fine.

Take them to Goodwill.

So – what are screws and bolts,

and washers?

What’s “before”? What is “after”?
Is “now” always stuck between the two?
Have they changed places?

How does it matter?

This is Thea’s response:


by Sue Blaustein
Artwork by Thea Kovac
In H. Fischman (Ed.), Draw Write Here, Volume 2, Issue 2. Blaustein, S. & Kovac, T. (2017)

The item, from Goodwill, that began Sue & Thea’s artistic conversation:


© 2018 All individual works copyrighted by their authors; all rights reserved. All poems and essays are works of the imagination. While the perceptions and insights are based on the authors’ experiences, no reference to any real person is intended or should be inferred. The views expressed on this website may not necessarily reflect the views of In Want of Jasmine: Journal for the Written Wor(l)d.