Winding The Clocks

By Carole Bromley

Each night you do the rounds, like a lover who
keeps faith after the loved one’s gone;
I guess it’s at the root of all you do.

I’m thinking this as you set the alarm,
lock the front door, hoist the pendulum; it falls to you
now to wind the grandfather in the hall, your arm

in the mahogany case your father loved, your blue
sleeve brushing the dust at the back,
your fingers round the heavy weight he knew.

Then you cross the room to mother’s clock,
the one that once stood on the nursery shelf,
its soft chime still chides your dad for his lack

of punctuality. The grandfather strikes the half
hour, your brother’s carriage clock an echo
from the breakfast room. All your life

cantankerous, out of step, yet still they go.
Listen. If the clocks bring back the way it used to be
and what it is you’ve lost, perhaps they know

what time still holds in store for you. And me.
Still here, watching you turn that small brass key.

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