Alice’s Ticking Clock

“I knew who I was this 

morning, but I’ve changed

a few times since then.”

 

the swinging, the missing,

the gaping hole,

the space between

the rise and fall

 

the seconds ticking,

flustered clouds roll by,

the sun and moon collide,

the moments of change,

the moments I can’t erase.

 

i lost you in the blaring sunlight,

your shadow’s gone in the moonlight,

but your whisper’s in the wind, &

i start each day where you’d begin:

on my praying knees, eyes lowered,

talking to Him.

 

toes among the living,

lips among the dead,

eyes dreaming with ghosts.

 

on tuesday morning it hits and so

i wear your favorite sweatshirt,

then immediately take it off.

 

brushing my teeth

your thoughts subside,

for awhile,

until

my mind’s dusting off

the volumes of alternate

endings I’ve memorized,

all rewritten with gentler goodbyes.

 

“why, sometimes i’ve believed

in as many as 6 impossible things

before breakfast.” 

 

8:30 a.m.

it was almost time to go, &

so i hid the clock under

your baseball cap,

next to your picture,

& i

told you the story about

when i locked my keys in

the car on my way to see you,

how I stood

in the middle

of an empty rainy parking lot,

&

i even acted out my

frazzled screaming at the sky

&

the cussing you hated

&

my lips jetted out

like the first time we

awkwardly kissed.

 

i couldn’t stop

the laughing,

 

it bubbled out of my

mouth

and

exploded;

 

into tears,

onto your picture,

onto my hands.

 

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” 

 

the sobs

then the silence

then the gasp,

the return of air,

the gathering

of self.

 

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.” 

 

i put your cap on

and set the clock

upright on the mantle,

next to the picture of you

with your eyes

avoiding the camera.

 

grabbing toast &

my bag of endless books,

i drove to work

to Beethoven blasting,

not even caring that

you hated how i tried

to enlighten you

even during

mindless short drives

around town.

 

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can,

 just to stay in place. 

And if you wish to go anywhere 

you must run twice as fast as that.”

 

strings plucked

like rivets on the

timeline of my paved journey

to my day’s affairs, &

with each note

i forgot the morning

breakdown.

 

“I don’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it.”

 

the swinging, the missing

the gaping hole,

the space between

the rise and fall

 

the slant of the shadow,

the grains of the hour,

the passing of the pendulum,

the coming and going of the pain,

the rise and fall,

the swinging, the missing.

 

“I can’t go back to yesterday

because

I was a different person then.”

Image

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