She surely should have known better. Selling sea shells by the sea shore is a short sighted career path. Anyone can pick up the shells on the seashore, selling shells is simply silly, and she should see that. But each day she sets up her stand, sets out the shells, and sits waiting to see who will shop for her sea shells. No one does, of course, but she is certain she will sell some soon if only to sailors shortly setting sail. So sad, really, but she certainly does not seem to mind.
I cannot determine why
my clock only tocks, as if
somewhere back time
its ticks beat a hasty retreat.
My life is increasingly like
that, a growing series of disconnects,
as if life itself, outside of me
is enduring a progressive dementia.
Perhaps I shouldn’t complain,
for both time and I know
that every one of those ticks
is owed to me and I will collect.
The universe does believe
in balance, after all, and a career
of being too often yon, has allowed
a joyous retirement to hither,
and having always stayed south
of the Arctic Circle I know
that each of my days has brought
with it a night, so I await my ticks.
There was a great deal
I wanted to say, after all
when you end the broadcast career
that spanned forty-three years
you want to be entitled
to a farewell address.
She said, “you’ve been on the air
here for two years, and
reading the news to the blind
once a week for half an hour
hardly constitutes a career.
And as for the three years
you did on the college station,
forty years before this,
I’m surprised even you
can remember anything you said.”
Somewhere in the herbal fog
of memory I knew she was right.