SAMBARTA RAKSHIT

  

Clocks: A Resurrection

There are no waves after this. Only the lateness.
And the sound of clocks filling a room's corners.
The bed lamp goes out in your fingers. You sink

to a drawl and say something about sleep. I would rather
be up and hear these chimes all night. It began
that winter in the cabin. That coast. While you slept

a distant ticking pulled me to the beach. Afterwards
it died. I saw two dead clocks washed up on the sand.
The glass was gone. The hands were bent like stalks

but intact, yes, and grains of sand had settled
in the notches. And at that hour you could have asked
anything you wished — like why the sea itself

had stopped or why a sheet of light covered
the blunt cliff-tops. A tree grew out of rock,
the ends all shorn or lopped off and someone

had hung a clock on a branch; it hung there
folded up like cloth laid out to dry and the fob
moved and barely touched the trunk. Another piece

with an antique gilt pendant lay on the belly
of some beached fish which in that light was like
a length of muslin pulled from a shell's ear

and flung loosely on a log. I wished to wind up
all these clocks, to listen to their enameled bells
but wet sand and weed had clogged the springs. Everything

was still. Only a stirring came from the far cabin.
The wind moved like fingers in ungiving grooves
and troubled the sand on your nape. Your skin was dry,

faintly pleated, and printed all over were clocks,
small pictures of watches, archaic dials
that asked to be set and reset. "What is this business

of markings?" you would ask later. Listen.
The clocks are on again. The sea turns
on the glaze of these chapters.