Thursday, September 07, 2006

Donald Illich

The Watch Counter

None of the clocks beneath the glass cases
show the same times. They're minutes off,

hours behind, seconds too late to witness
the correct number that's winning the race,

running ahead of thin, colored hands on
designer watches, jumping up and down

on black digital lights unable to keep up.
The salesman could spend all day fixing

the pieces, but then when would he think
about his wasted life, selling measurers

of his weeks waiting for customers to buy,
not just look; for women to show for dates

when they say they will, not cancel them;
for friends to call nights when he needs

to hear a voice, not slowly drift away,
so years add up without even a word.

Inside the display his ticking continues,
with each device only right once a day,

when the clerk puts on his brown jacket,
fishes out keys from his deep pockets,

and walks past automotive supplies,
electronics, and cosmetics to the exit

where the moon taps him on the shoulder,
and the stars tell him it's time to leave.

Donald Illich has published poems in The Iowa Review, Fourteen Hills, and New Zoo Poetry Review. He has poems forthcoming in several journals, including Passages North, Nimrod, LIT, The Sulphur River Literary Review, CrossConnect Magazine, Xavier Review, and Cold Mountain Review. He works as a writer in Rockville, Maryland. "The Watch Counter" is part of a series titled "Mall".