After riding the escalator back

To switch the watch
a Swatch a second time, a third,
each face scratched minutely,

or because the date was stuck
I became a traveller in the mall
forever unhappy with a purchase

but returning always unalone
brought there with my wife
who loves me and worries for

the sorrow that ticks away
inside the case of my self-schism
but that’s not all

I go up and offer each broken
or semi-imperfect object to
the kindly merchant of watches

who resembles a small Paul Simon
which is smaller than you might
imagine possible, and while

outside there is London getting
Sunday under a darkening wing
inside it is the timelessness

of some brief caring act,
not entirely due to exchange of
money, and I am in love

and ruined in some parts of inner
workings, a cog that clicks
upon another toothed gear

stymied again, under the magnifying
glass, still unable to be pried free—
sorrow’s just an hour by hour

journey, but in between, there are
seconds as good as before, pretty
good intervals to cling to you and me.

This poem “After riding the escalator back” originally appeared in Spectres of Modernism. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 209 (Summer 2011): 107-108.

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