What they said to me

when clocks had knees that knocked

and walls could walk and talk, telling

a jest, a light in the dark,

they said it was no time for laughter.

When the walls came tumbling down after the fire,

and I looked for the watch I’d spared,

it occurred to me that time had stopped.

I stood alone in the ashes.

Grandma would talk, would say

somewhere someone is beating on keyboard,

has lost his novel to the hereafter;

said their pen has also broke

and their brain has bled dry.

Somewhere someone is beating a woman

her bones aftermath of a terrorist attack.

She’ll fall and die the way she came

between her mother’s open legs,

and I can reach in this dark space

been dipped in red, in a sunset, saying

Grandma’s bones are already dead, yes,

but concentrate and open your eyes,

you’ll see her swimming in the streetlight.

Open eyes to a bedroom door

shut, the hands pressing against ankles

a pastor thrusting holy water down a throat,

yet you sob; break your back on a rock

a skull split in two, your mother sighs

as Daddy pulls out the gun.

In the tremble and sway of nightlife,

perched as an owl in disguise

Grandma’s ghost will say

somewhere beneath a pontoon boat lies a body

been dropped off a wave by a furious god

who couldn’t get his answer calling collect

whispered, hang up and try again.

The phone was dead, and still he spoke.

Somewhere someone is diving from the telephone wire,

a tuba in their throat

singing a lot about life, their novel, the times

a fire in my house, a mismatched watch,

and the uneventful hereafter.