The Wind And The Clock

The wind dresses itself in trees, handbills,
dust balls, feathers and rags—anything to be seen—
unlike the upright clock in its polished box
sure of the world's respect for synchronized
numbers, the world's need for balance and weight.

Oh wait, the wind cries, shaking the window
in its sash, aching to get near the clock,
to knock at its door, unlatch that wooden world
inside. And once there? The clock knows
the wind would toss its weights like halyards

clanging in a stormy boatyard, hurl sand
in its fine-toothed gears, or lick its many
moon faces blank. The clock has seen how
wind strews autumn leaves like clothes tossed
on a lover's floor. Ah love, the wind sighs—

doesn't love always undo the very thing
done up to draw it in? But the clock thinks,
Faceless, what would I be, my hands spun
to a dizzy blur, my numbers scattered?
Numbers! the wind cries, does love keep

accounts? Didn't St. Peter say a day
and a thousand years were one and the same?
To want what you can't have is a fool's dream,
the clock tells the wind. To not take what
you want—that is love. And the wind,

which just now was stretching its invisible flag
in long rippling waves, falls limp.
So, its argument won, the clock strikes,
as if it had no second thoughts, never
once wished for wind's little ruckus

to swirl up old hair, dried wings, dust
from the stars, dust from the dead. The dead,
for whom all ticking has ceased, who come
to mind, and then go, invisible as the—
Oh, the wind, stirring its little eddies.

by Betsy Sholl

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