Saturday, September 28, 2013

Turnip Watch

"All in a day, it seemed on looking back: all in a day he had stepped outside of it all, with a sigh of relief and a twinge of loss and a nod of resolution that he would not turn back that way now even if he could, and he could not, it was too small to go back into, an intricate clockwork sphere that he would carry with him then like an old-fashioned turnip watch . . . in perfect working order, only stopped forever."

Or his paternal grandfather's
Longines, gold-cased and engraved
With a foolish faux gothic lettering
Commemorating silver years
Of service to the molding of plastic
Dinnerwares made in New Jersey
With a stench that he remembered
Floating over green hill and highway,
So unbearably foul he smells it now,

A machine so finely corrupted
It won't work even after dozens
Of assiduously sought-out repairs.
(English! Bloody language,
A million ways to break a line
But none avoiding permanently
Ending or beginning with one
Of those cursed little words
The well-tooled turning rests upon.)

What did he want to say, either
As grandfather, wearing that watch
Through another five-plus decades
And a half-a-dozen leather straps,
Or as grandson, carrying that last
Incarnation of strap in a box
Still attached to the proper watch
For two or three decades more,
As if time would make time work

Again for its bread and butter,
For its creator who dropped it
Out on the heathery glen?
Little world that someone loving
Made so well and wedged inside
Its tiny golden shell, why suggest
You have a something more to tell
Of this metaphor of positions
Locked forever in your chest?

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