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Time's Cold Face

It was all
just a race against the clock.
A sprint
feet trying to outrun those hands
lips trying to beat that cold face.

In the first hour
I met your gaze
for the very first time.
Standing in a crowded square
you looked at me
and I looked back.

In the second hour
I learned your name
heard the music of syllables
spoken from soft lips.
Only
I had no way of knowing
just how soft they were.
Not yet.

In the third hour
you gave me your number
dictating each crisp digit
one by one
as I wrote them
in my flowery script
upon the back of my hand
with your fading sharpie.

In the fourth hour
you put your arm around me
and my bare shoulders
tingled at your touch
on fire
in the cool summer night.

In the fifth hour
you wrapped me
in your tight embrace
oblivious to the way my heart fluttered
like a jar of lightning bugs
in the hands of a five-year-old.
I held my breath
listened to your throbbing heart
and stared up at the full moon.

In the sixth hour
you held my hand
in a darkened movie theatre.
I must confess
my memory of the movie is blank
erased at the first contact
of your magical fingertips.

In the seventh hour
you kissed me.
Kissed me in broad daylight,
a movie-star kiss
with the brass band of our hearts
pounding out a love song.

In the eighth hour
I took you to bed with me
laying tangled in a spider web of sheets
trapped upon a lumpy mattress
and creaky bed frame
as dawn’s lavender light
began to filter through
the gauzy curtains.

In the ninth hour
we sat together
on a long bus ride
city lights casting red shadows
across your face.
Speaking of love
how you don’t believe, never will believe
and no matter how many times I said otherwise
reached for your hand
you shook your head
pulled away.

In the tenth hour
you didn’t kiss me
goodnight.
Standing on the sidewalk
you just stared.
Didn’t squeeze my hand
just stared
as I icily
wished you sweet dreams.

In the eleventh hour
we walked in silence
dirt and dust
flying into the thick air
with each footstep
clogging our lungs, throats
making speech impossible.
Or was that something else?

In the twelfth hour
we said goodbye.
Tears for me
running down my blotchy cheeks
staining your shirt.
You held me
just like all the times before
but you didn’t kiss me.
A finger reached towards my face
wiped away a tear.
I kissed your cheek
and turned away
not returning your fair-well.

You can’t beat the clock.
Hands are more sure than feet
and emotionless faces
win over warm lips.
Time is a constant
but so is
tomorrow.





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