October 17, 2010

The Hours

by Stephen Dunn

Worst was to live by somebody else's time,
the hours scheduled for him, smudged
with clarity and motives not his own.

He preferred the enigmas of early morning

and the neither-here-nor-thereness of dusk,
which gave the half-life he lived an atmosphere.
He liked watching it collect itself,
impossible to tell if it descended or rose.

He didn't care for noon's bustle and blare.
And evenings couldn't be trusted, he felt,
so dependent were they on other people.

Even evenings alone were measured
by who wasn't there. Desire & Need,
how they sat down with him,
helped like untrained helpers
arrange the hours that followed.
Evening was their time.

He remembered, of course, the lovely hours --
the body's sudden holidays, prolonged fiestas
of the mind. He rewound and rewound.

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