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?

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–
like a lick of saltwater

stinging your face.

March 27, 2016. Harlingen, the Netherlands.