of a life that’s as complicated as everyone else’s,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather’s
has stopped at 9:20; we haven’t had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don’t ring. One day you look out the window,
green summer, the next, and the leaves have already fallen,
and a grey sky lowers the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happened so fast. Each day, we must learn
again how to love, between morning’s quick coffee
and evening’s slow return. Steam from a pot of soup rises,
mixing with the yeasty smell of baking bread. Our bodies
twine, and the big black dog pushes his great head between;
his tail is a metronome, 3/4 time. We’ll never get there,
Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging
us on faster, faster, but sometimes we take off our watches,
sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh
of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up
in love, running out of time.

Posted by kind permission of the poet.

Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker

About the author

Barbara Crooker is an award-winning poet whose poems have been featured in various media outlets such as the BBC, in magazines, and in numerous anthologies. Her most recent books include Slow Wreckage (Grayson Books, 2024); Some Glad Morning (Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), The Book of Kells (Cascade Books, 2018, winner of the Best Poetry Book 2018 from Poetry by the Sea), and Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017). For more information, visit barbaracrooker.com.