In A Harlingen Café (poem)

Just lost an hour of life–
A leather-apron-clad girl climbs
a ladder
and moves the hands of the clock forward.
I watch helplessly
at the table, my coffee cooling by a half-eaten sandwich.
Have I simply carried this hour since October?
Or did I use it well, somewhere along the way
not knowing I was spending it?
What happens to the accounts of those
who pass from this life between spring &
fall, when their hour is missing –
does it accelerate their demise?

For example: my father left this world
just as tiny pale flowers were emerging from trees, and
my mother, the same year, as leaves skittered across pavement
in the hospital parking lot.
A year of time contracting,
sharpening before vanishing altogether–
a lick of saltwater stinging your face.

March 27, 2016. Harlingen, the Netherlands.

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