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Poem-a-Day

The Wristwatch

THE WRISTWATCH

Time is led by its interrogators
into a round room with a domed glass ceiling.
Ranged along the wall, strange numerals stand,
mossy columns salvaged from some forgotten god’s temple.
In the center of the room, on a small table,
rest two black hands, cut off at the wrists,
frozen in the pose of a pianist’s
the moment before the crescendo.
The hands are so black it is as if they’ve been caught
touching death’s hair. They look
about to scuttle away, creepy
as a spider on the bare flesh of someone sleeping.
And Time, arrested near the border
where it had been living far from man,
like a saint praying in a cave, is made
to put the black hands on.
They go on easy, like shackles,
like the gloves of your dead grandfather.
And Time is wearing them still,
conducting a symphony it cannot hear
like Beethoven in his last years,
for the children outside the round room,
whose faces Time will never see
but who, upon being born,
will be made to dance to its music.
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