A Po-Em

February 21, 2010

Hands of the Clock

The courtyard is filled with tourists

Moving like a school of fish.

I hear a woman’s laugh.  A high heeled footstep.

The rustling of a map feels loud in my ear.

She says, “YOU were supposed to bring the camera,”

Her husband is making excuses and retrieving money from his pocket.

Manning the kiosk, a boy smiles, hands over a disposable camera,

Pretending he doesn’t speak English.

The people are annoyed that I’m standing still, not milling, not gawking.

The day is perfect, a snapshot from a guidebook,

A scene from a snow globe with no snow.

All along I’ve known it would be like this.

The waiter in the café.  A pigeon.

My heart hurts as I peer left.  Right.  Left again.

The gothic spire towers over us,

Small compared to its size and history.

Moving closer to the diners, I smell wine mixing with conversation

And changing.  Magic wands rendered obsolete by relationship.

I glance at my watch, smooth my clothes, try to slow my pulse

Before hearing his voice behind me, “Hi, you.”

His hand on the small of my back.

The crowd inside the cathedral gathers in front of the clock,

Waiting for the big hand to move.

For my breath to come again.

They don’t know that time has stopped.

All along I’ve known it would be like this.

Eyelashes lowered. Legs trembling.

I’m falling as I finally meet his gaze,

The shadow cast from the cathedral eclipsed by his light.

All along I’ve known it would be like this.




  1. I like the part “Pretending he doesn’t speak English.” …even I’ve pulled that one on tourist…most of all I love the tone that you’ve created in this poem.

  2. Very interesting, I felt like I was there!

  3. you made me flutter.

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