Now

by Christopher Stein

 

The clock takes stock of its mortal possessions,
marks our brows with red
strikes that line up like tallies of the war-dead.

I have ten thousand thoughts, competing vectors
pulling me apart like four horses, Attila smiling sideways.
There is no time for the thoughts, but I never tell them no.

I never say stop or no more or wait I just say
give me more to do or you’re doing it wrong:
let me help.

Seeing something done wrong is like falling,
a mollusk let go by a bird cracking out its dinner on a jetty.
The clouds’ breath fills your yawning chest cavity with a bloated

feeling like giving up. And I can’t do it,
can’t let the splat happen until I’ve pulled
my fingernails out, scraped bloody,

dragging my still-beating heart up
that cliff-face, tearing shingles off like leeches,
and still that ticking that tells me tomorrow

is coming so quickly there are only 24 hours
before the sun harangues me again, says
here is another deadline you cannot possibly meet.

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