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The church clock is frozen at ten to seven

dust in the main street air hangs

motionless over some waiting cars


A traffic signal stuck at amber

it’s been yellow now six hundred years

in the butchery a knife is poised


over a side of loin chops it never falls

Mrs. Burnbridge on the balcony at

number twenty ponders whether to put


the king up in the empty space or whether

she should move the ten of clubs onto

the knave.  It’s taken half a millennium


as if her hesitation could bring the time

back – set the wheels moving again

glance below and watch the children walk to school


And in a cave somewhere in Asia

a bearded figure rigid now so many years

finger on button to be depressed only


a single warning second

and then released to read the prophet’s words

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© Johnmichael Simon



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