The Ticking Pulse

It wasn’t even your
grandfather’s clock, or anyone’s:
its plain, clean face
ticked in a train station
high in the Rockies
for miners and dreamers.
When those days were done,
someone sold it to your Dad.
First, it lived in your childhood
den, wound every Sunday.
Then in our own first
attic together, then deep
in our basement, silent.
Fixed by a cranky expert
and promoted upstairs.
Every Sunday, you open
the tiny door, extract
the brass key, and wind
three and a half turns.
Our days are divided
propelled by that cheerful
ceaseless sound. When you
are away, I don’t take
your place. Whatever is gone
when you’re not here
isn’t working, and cannot
be wound by me.

Mary Dingee Fillmore