Friday, February 5, 2021

Clock with Reverse Gears by Jim Whiteside

Clock with Reverse Gears

I’m ten and jumping
out of the pool
onto the concrete, wet
only with sweat, walking
back to the machine
that reassembles the lawn
one blade at a time.
Birds call out with songs
that quickly retreat
to their lungs.
Your body is made
whole again, the flames
returning flesh to bone.
I have a father
and then, suddenly,
I don’t. This is
the part that doesn’t
change back.
In the field where
we bury you,
the bag with your ashes
never empties—
the hole overflows
while I stand there
waiting for your voice
to come through
the wind. Every fish
you ever caught
re-embodies, spits out
the bait and swims
away, while I sit
in a dark room
wearing your bathrobe,
watching your hand
reaching around
the doorframe
to switch the light off
and on, off and on,
until the bulb blows out.

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