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Sunday, March 08, 2020


by Bill Meissner

Though the black hour and minute hands
are stuck, motionless,
the second hand keeps circling and circling
the clock on our wall.

It reminds me of the older couple I saw once—
the man standing outside in the flowerbed,
the woman inside—placing their hands on
opposite sides of a large picture window.
I marveled at the way their arms moved together
in a graceful circling.

The second hand chases and
chases itself, as if it believes it
could catch up with itself.

I believed that couple was
slowly waving to each other, or
doing some kind of playful, synchronized
dance of love.  Until I realized their hands held stained cloths;
they were merely cleaning the streaked glass.

In fall, we lose an hour, like a key
slid behind a dresser, then,
six months later, like a missing sock found under the bed, we
gain one.  Each season we feel ourselves
become younger, then
older, then younger again.
And we can’t help but wonder:  how long can the foggy cells inside our body
keep cleaning their tiny windows?

This spring, after resetting our new clock,
you and I lift our hands toward each other,
gently press our palms together,
circle them around and
around, around and
around, keeping the dance going
as we polish the space between us.

Writer/teacher Bill Meissner is the author of eight books of fiction and poetry, including a recent poetry collection, The Mapmaker’s Dream (Finishing Line Press). His novel Spirits in the Grass (University of Notre Dame Press) won the Midwest Book Award.  He lives with his wife Christine in Minnesota where he resets his clocks two (or more) times per year.