The tape’s gone missing and I can’t recall
what needed measuring with the precision
of my great-grandmother’s clock counting
the half-seconds. It’s loud. Tires on gravel
and buttons clacking in the clothes dryer
fall away, like so many plans. What’s left
as night grows is simply the sound of time passing.
With lathe and reed, my grandfather’s
grandfather built chairs that still hold me.
A lemonade pitcher my grandmother kept
is cracked at the spot where the glassblower
broke off the pipe. I keep it with
the matching hand-painted glasses because
I don’t know what they meant to her.
From the edge of the treadle sewing machine,
the tape measure finally catches my eye.
It rests heavy in my hand as I try to remember
what needed a number to tell its span
from beginning to end. One breath,
then another, while the clock that started counting
in the century before last ticks on.
Kelly Lenox is the author of The Brightest Rock. Her poems and translations appear in Raven Chronicles, Faultline, The Wide Shore, Still: The Journal, RHINO, and elsewhere. Translations also appear in Voice in the Body (Ljubljana: Litterae Slovenicae, 2006) and Six Slovenian Poets (Lancaster, U.K.: Arc Publications, 2006). She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and works as a science writer and editor for the National Institutes of Health. (www.kellylenox.com)
Copyright 2017, Kelly Lenox