August 4, 2010

Secret of the Old Clock

A bird once hung here,
green-headed, scabbed with jewels--
it rang the hour and the half
with a hollow cluck--

a mallet hitting a croquet ball
into the scummy pond.
You watched your life
tick away

with each browned elm leaf
falling to the lawn.
A cup of coffee growing cold
on the lion-legged table

at your elbow. Oh, sad man,
don't you know
the secret by now? An ancient fish,
mossy and defiant,

flips its tail in the failing sun
to splash your immaculate
pant cuffs with mud.