The Clock

If you don’t want to hear it chime,  don’t pull its chain.  Smzang

It stands
has stood for years
in the corner of the parlor
the room updated now
to something less formal
a rumpus room, a den
call it what you will

the clock is there
standing as if that corner
were its birthright
imperial, impervious
and we fear it

the clock is not a god
it is not even a demon
though that
is harder to remember

tick, tock
is not a language
the mainspring
is not a brain
it is a mechanism

it needs no food
no vintage libation
some linseed oil will keep it
from cracking

an occasional pull
of its weighted chain
will keep it chiming
don’t mistake this constancy
for loyalty

nor its accuracy
for devotion — it is a product
of its making
it controls time
no more than a yardstick
controls distance

if the clock were gone
the corner would be empty
but time would not stop
still there are times
I’d like to hold its hands

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