Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Clock

I have a clock
next to by my bed.
Every night
it keeps me awake.

unceasing stilettos on slate

It reminds me
of you

and my last trip
to the top

to your matchbox room,
warm enough to hatch chicks.

You wanted water
or maybe another blanket

or maybe just to know what time it was,
because I looked at that clock,
and I hated it.

taunting tapping on tiny legs

No need to say,
no clock was ever so melancholy
or so succinctly reminded one
of the measured, meticulous march of the minutes,
the hours,
the days,
the months.

It ticked and clicked  
more loudly than ever need be
and haunted my creaking climb to you

punctuating pain with perfect precision

And there you lay,
a crepe-paper doll,
cocooned within the quiet of quilts.

I could never understand why you kept that clock,
how in that cloistered room
time could have any meaning .

The silence between the seconds was life
         holding its breath,
the narrative of a house dying.         

It had been a home
that made up the mystery of my mother’s life.
And now it was an old house
with a clock,
and a death,
that took more time than ever need be.

I was twelve years old,
yet at the top of the stair,
I wished I were younger
and could creep, courageous,
into the camphor rooms as I once did
and slide my fingers across
the forbidden bric -o- brac of your life.

The secrecy of knick-knacks and dust.

But I was afraid
that if I lingered a little longer
the clock would stop.

I wanted to tell you I loved you.

But I did not.