Poem: The Rocket Clock – 04/08/20

And on the Rocket Clock!
our focused eyes widened.
On the Rocket Clock!
we learned to tell big-people’s time.
 
Around the Rocket Clock!
we smiled and shared songs,
on the Rocket Clock!
parents watched our years grow richer
as we travelled through life,
singing, clapping, playing along.
 
On wristwatches,
we interpreted the angles of hands,
on our wristwatches,
we practiced patience and countdowns –
(of patience I wasn’t a fan)
 
on the classroom clock,
we learned just five minutes until recess!
on the examination room clock
we shuddered as exam's end drew near.
 
Behind the gymnasium walls,
nervous, sweaty palms,
midday was the call,
 
arms wrapped around,
falling into an embrace,
time standing still,
relationship, a new beginning is forged,
is tentatively made.
 
Years pass,
and behind, in a secret room,
we watch the time count down,
dressed in gorgeous lily white,
the rest in flesh and fuchsia pink,
classy frills, lace, and thrills,
 
nervously an iPhone’s time is repeatedly consulted,
impending matrimony,
it’s almost time,
when two lives will become a beautiful, single flow.
 
On the Rocket Clock,
look, darling,
do you see the little and big hands?
That means it’s half past three,
Daddy loved to read the Rocket Clock, too.
 
Did I ever tell you how we met?
Oh, would you look at the time…
The rocket clock says its not time
to share that story with you,
perhaps for now, I’ll keep it as his and mine.
 
A stern, sterile hospital,
that sad, clinical clock,
the second hand which does not tick,
is red and goes around continuously
as though a lie that life will go on and on,
 
but here, life can cease prematurely,
or perhaps once we have accepted this, it will,
to know that for them to be taken by another’s ethereal hand 
when our loved one is prepared, 
it will occur when they are ready.
 
Remember when we watched the Rocket Clock?
I spin his worn golden ring around.
Remember when you counted the time down?
What a joyous sound!
Remember our years,
remember our lives,
then fall shut do his paining eyes,
 
my truest man,
his loss, my undoing,
the world accepts his spirit,
his is a willing sacrifice he’s bringing.
 
I grasp his hand fiercely,
stare at that abominable clock,
tears squeeze from my eyes,
I’ll never forget this moment,
this time,

I rub his palm against my cheek
and hysterically sob,
so proud I had called him mine.   

© 2020 Lauren M. Hancock. All rights reserved.
Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Author's note: "The Rocket Clock" references a short time-telling segment in a very popular educational Australian children's television program called "Play School". It's been showing for over fifty years.  

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