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Sunday, March 11, 2018


by Bill Meissner


The watch slipped from my wrist and dropped
to the sand, burying itself. Retracing
my footprints, I couldn’t find it, though I searched
and searched, my palm skimming the beach
like a metal detector.

Home from vacation, I wonder who might
find that watch, wonder
what lonely, homeless beachcomber—years from now—
might idly sift a handful of sand and

discover it. Would the watch be
silent, its cracked face filled with grains that seeped in,
little by little, smothering the two luminous hands?
Or would it still be ticking away in some other time zone,
each sweep of the second hand like a wave
smoothing a distant shore?
If he held it to his ear, like a spiral seashell,
could he hear the azure roar of the ocean inside it?

If I could replace something, it wouldn’t be
the watch I lost. Instead, I’d retrieve
a minute, an hour, a day or two, a month,
even a whole year. I’d retrieve
a few friendships, the blurred mistakes I’ve made,
the faces that faded from the family photo,
an afternoon of tender touching. I’d recover

those moments that passed
while the grains
in the hourglass fell
and fell
in a line so thin and steady I could hardly tell it was moving.

Bill Meissner is a teacher/writer and the author of four books of poems, two short story collections, and a novel Spirits in the Grass which won the Midwest Book Award.  He lives in Minnesota.  Visit his Facebook author page.