1. Spring Forward
The government’s at it again, tampering time.
We stagger behind, wishing Salvador Dali minutes
would lag instead of leap. April, the month of taxes
and poetry, trails us like an urchin, asking for thanks
while we are thanked by the government
with jet-lag and loss of easeful dark.
Do you really expect us to pump
the big-top minutes in this shell game
with lifespan, this unsought forward-swap?
And where do the authorities keep
my acrobat hour? My purse’s emptiness
holds shadows and stars.
Perhaps Congress has stashed the saved time
in a teak box inlaid with mother-of-pearl roses
and lined in dawn-like blue satin.
Or perhaps they use a big penny jar
shaped like a trumpeting elephant.
The lock in his triumphant, raised trunk.
Too many of us must have keys,
for every fall we find it looted
like the empty bank I once saw hung with a For Sale sign.
The silver-hinged vault lay open
for deposits of dust. Ghost hours
must have danced in that mouth at midnight.
I won’t put my overtime
in anything so mawed
or keep my memories under its picked lock.
3. Fall Back
When skeletons dance
and red devil leaves seesaw,
the clock spins backwards. Spring
forward, fall back, I repeat to timepieces
whose hands I wring.
The powers-that-save have conjured
the phantom hour. It imps my night, keeps
afternoons whirring like hummingbirds.
I see now why we must hoard every spark
of light against night’s snip-end and hold life
by the tail – the dark dot
of the question mark.
-- first appeared in The Atlanta Review