The Constraints of Time

The Constraints of Time

At birth, I clocked in with your heart.
I wound you up and let your cymbals bang.
Little monkey, run! off! Your ticker
isn’t long. Be sure to take your
time. Be sure you’re never
late! You have a meeting at six
and a mission at eight—lunch at eleven
at Ellen Estates. By noon,
may I remind you, the day
isn’t halfway behind you.
At two is the dentist, at three the repair man,
at four is that agent from Central L.A.
The dog wants to be walked, the kids
want to be played with. But the post offices,
the banks: they close by five
and you have nine month’s worth
of overdue fines. I’m telling you,
I am waving my three hands
from the walls, from the towers,
from your cell phone and computer;
I’m with you everywhere you go,
eating up pasts and spitting out futures.
I’m even strapped to your wrist,
always crying, “It’s time, it’s time!”
If you could just manage
a little nap, you could stop this
madness. As sure as tock follows
tick, you could forget I exist,
if only for a little while.

by Ryan Dowling