by Robert Nisbet
His shop in the arcade Ron called
The Passage of Time. As you went in
you saw a hundred timepieces, alarm clocks,
carriage clocks and digitals,
watches in cabinets, time banked high.
Seeing that cog-wheeling certainty
I wondered at the way that Ron,
through every second of each eight-hour day,
would know, click-ticked, brain-deep,
the time, the time, the time.
For a while one summer, I helped him out.
And he’d say, each day, leaving Pearl in charge,
Mid-morning coffee, John? Time for our break?
I started to log the times.
11.25 11.38 11.33
Around eleven-thirty. Mid-morning-ish.
And later in the day, he’d say, Time
to start packing up. I logged these too.
5.18 5.22 5.15
Quarter to twenty past. Roughly.
O Ron, I saw your full achievement then,
such joy in the approximate,
your days’ emancipation,
proof now against the clocks’ harsh trek,
proof too against the scurrying of time.