Tan hands, whiter between grandmotherly creases,

curve to brush away the hair she cut years earlier,

her hands tipped with mauve fingernails—

          painted the same color

          as when she was last happy.

Her fingers wrap around the clock key,

cranking the escapement gear and turning the hands

to a time she doesn’t believe exists.


After we put my father in the ground,

I flew across the Atlantic and got lost in Fiesole,

where they measure time in breaths and millennia.


“What time do you suppose it is in Florence, Grandma?”

“Oh, your dad was always on time, sweetheart, usually early.

Sometimes he was too early.”





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