it is 3 a.m. when you have a disagreement with your clock.
you turn your back on it,
fold your arms,
close your eyes,
try to quell the thud thud
thudding of your heart —
you are losing to time,
you are losing time —
“stop. let’s talk it out,”
you want to say,
“let’s call a truce.
give me back what you’ve taken
and i’ll forget we ever fought.”
but you open your eyes to daylight.
you find time has left you behind.
you realize on a Tuesday that you will never have back the days you are living/losing/wasting.
time stays away for days
always just out of reach.
you forget the days of the week
so often now that you keep a calendar
on your desk.
maybe time will come back to you
maybe you will stop waking up in your sleep,
drowning in the urgency for nothing
all at once.
you are fighting
a losing battle.
the days whittle you down to
you wonder if it’d count to make a wish today
— or if you’d be cheating.
you have spent every 11:11
wishing to forget the way
your calendar is full of X’s,
one for every day
since the last time
you had time.
you make the wish anyway.
it takes closed eyes and crossed fingers
and five whole seconds.
time has evaded your grasp
for months on end by now,
and you can’t seem to do anything without losing something
with each passing second.
the ball drops, and with it, your stomach.
you feel so small in the face of a year.
nothing you’ve done has stopped time
from slipping through your fingers.
how many days have you spent?
what have you to show for it?
time steals from you
even more than before.
your memory of memories fades —
was it a Wednesday
when you first started losing track of the days?
everyone is looking forward
to the “new” year,
as if time has reset to zero,
as if it had any mercy.
time is insidious that way:
it deceives you as it leaves you.
today is a day that makes no sense.
the months are meaningless measures.
you throw away your X-ed out calendar
and let your watch fall out of sync
with the rest of the world.
for a brief, wild, breathless moment,
it’s almost as if you’ve stepped out of time.
for a moment, there are no numbers or words to tell you
but the sun still sets,
casting long grey shadows
across your living room floor,
and you’re reminded there is no such thing
as a time out.
you are always in time,
losing to time.
your clock breaks on a Saturday
you take it down and store it
in the back of your closet.
a perfect circle of pale blue sits in its place,
two shades lighter than the rest of the wall.
and the newfound silence
makes your heart pound, your hands sweat,
as if you needed as much as you hated
to know the time.
you had always wished for more time.
you’re uncertain what to feel
now that you don’t know
how much you have.
you don’t know the hour,
but you wake up in the middle of the night
for the first time in months.
the wall is still blank,
the room still silent.
the window is open, moonlight filtering in,
and you wonder if the cold woke you.
reaching blindly into the closet
for your favorite sweater,
your hand lands on the edge of something
cold and smooth.
you pull out the clock,
long forgotten and unneeded by now.
when you hold it to the moonlight,
the sleep ebbing from your eyes, you find the hands
at five past three.
a bittersweet smile tugs at your lips
as you imagine it has only been a minute.