Seconds
by Robert L. Dean, Jr.



Walden, is it you?
____________—Henry David Thoreau


The alarm blinks 8:38,
the microwave 8:37.
HDTV slipstreams in at 8:34
but it’s Droid by a nose at 8:33.
Nightmares gallop in reverse this morning
or I’ve awakened in the Twilight Zone.

I punch Father Time’s virtual numbers,
frayed nerves salved by rotary dial clicks.
A bright-voiced man assures me of a bright-eyed future
with a second mortgage from the First National Bank.
The current time is…

—We’re sorry, that number
is no longer in service

Quickly now from some dusty shelf
WWV on the short wave dial
the Atomic Clock in Boulder CO
_____…tick…tick…tick…
_____At the tone
Walter Cronkite looks up from the report just handed him
removes his glasses
on the horizon a mushroom cloud

_______________ In the hills,
the fishermen reel and cast, reel and cast,
the water as blue-deep as memory.
Mom snaps a Polaroid,
Pop threading hooks with night crawlers.
From his perch on my wrist, gloved hands pointing
to the spaces, not the numbers,
Mickey Mouse winks.





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