last time

the horologist
has three more clocks
to complete
before he’s done

one
is a watch
whose battery has run down

clockwork and life
every spring
runs down

for some
a new battery
will start life over

the second timepiece
a cuckoo clock
whose bellows will not open
as they should

will not close

air seeps
inefficiently
and the bird cannot be heard

just an arrhythmic
clattering
on the hour
and a gasped whisper
lacking air
with which the horologist
is all too familiar

but the bellows can be replaced
and she will sing the day
sweetly
once again

the last clock
is a matriarch
that he is not sure
he has the strength
or steadiness
to make good

there are pieces
of the mechanism
scattered across the workbench
but the vision
that he needs
to suspend the cogs
tighten the springs
just
as they need to be
is faded
and the time for this
grandmother
and her timepiece
is slipping by
too swiftly

he will strive
to make hammers
strike their chimes
crisply and clear
as they should
before these final
shortened hours
are gone


© Frank Prem, 2016

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