Heliotrope – Cathryn Essinger

The clock on the microwave agrees
with the clock on the stove,
which agrees with the clock on the mantle,

but I prefer the grandfather clock who always
lags a moment behind, the shadow
of the earth eclipsing the moon

above his numeraled face. He understands
that time is not some digital mystery,
but a slow grinding of the cosmic gears,

the turning of the earth measured against
its own circumference…25,000 miles around
its middle and still we say time flies.

Today my son is flying west, ahead of the sun,
arriving before he has left, his day
nothing but mid afternoon,

but now even the sunflowers in my garden
who followed the sun so faithfully
from east to west are stilled,

preferring to wait for that blast of afternoon
light that pins them in place, causes
their heads to droop,

makes them long for earthly time,
the darkness of the soil, the steady
tick- tock of the sleeping seed.

Cathryn EssingerCathryn Essinger is the author of three books of poetry–A Desk in the Elephant House, from Texas Tech University Press, My Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence, both from Main Street Rag. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Antioch Review, The New England Review, The Southern Review, and The Alaska Quarterly, among others and have been nominated for Pushcarts and “Best of the Net,” featured on The Writer’s Almanac, and reprinted in American Life in Poetry.