As they get ready to steal
an early hour from us tomorrow,
to be returned torn and misshapen
after letting October bonfires

and jack-o’-lanterns burn out.
The bats don’t care.
Nor do the red flare
water lilies. They bloom at dusk

no matter what the GPS watch says.
As if we might remember
the big and little hands
from the clock that used to hang

on the wall. Or how to read
a sundial. As scientists
model and map the history
of a sonic landscape

to shape the future of sound

inside a reconstructed Notre Dame.
As the wait for the bells
to call us to vespers
within the cathedral drags on.

As the soap opera of physics
gets picked up for another season,
and time, space, and speed
reappear in new outfits and haircuts.

As Ruth Stone’s “still white
stilted heron” haunts the view
from a train as it rattles
along the tracks toward

what? A pendulum that swings

too far, or an ending
in derailment, or a forever
moment that triggers
an unshakable ambivalence

you have for ancient chants
only heard reverberating
when asleep. So much silence
scattered in the debris.

As you search for a more polished
daybreak that comes too late again
and sip your Monday morning
mimosa, you might say

this is it.

No more relying on long springs
of wild abandon entangled
in late afternoon’s western gleam.
As he keeps the kitchen light on

for you, and the string attached
to the pull chain snaps.
As you remove shadows
from the cardboard box with care,

that hour may never be returned.

This poem references Ruth Stone’s poem “Train Ride” from her collection In the Next Galaxy (Copper Canyon Press, 2002).

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