Pocket Watch

Suffering gently from

a poverty of ideas, the girl

swayed on the edge of Occam’s Razor and wondered about

being imprisoned for eighteen years for a crime you didn’t commit, and if

she’d been lead astray, or if she’d just

thought about it for too long.

She had thought there was a lot of time for thinking.

The wrinkles of misfortune in her brow and velvet dress were deep and

the gold pocket watch in her hand had no chain.

Feet hanging over the side of the Edge, she

finally began to realise that the watch was in fact lying to her,

and had been doing so all along

It had promised that there could be a beginning, and a middle,

and and that if she only stayed for long enough, the end would be just

But, on the edge and peering down into her palm she saw

that the whole round face of it had been a farce

There was only one thing the watch, and all other watches, should have ever told her

only one thing they could have said that could be true

The beginnings were lost. The middles were hesitant and deceptive and painful. The endings existed only as a concept for the captive and corrupt.

So the only thing the watch could have honestly spoken to her,

and to any of us, ever

was “now.”



This poem was inspired by a quote from Damien Echols, one of the “Memphis Three,” who were wrongfully imprisoned for murder. Damien served 18 years on death row before walking free.

One thing I’d dearly love to have is an hourglass. Or a whole collection of them- some that measure minutes, some that measure hours, some that measure the whole day. And grandfather clocks! And pocket watches. The thing I like most about time is that it’s not real. It’s all in the head. Sure, it’s a useful trick to use if you want to meet someone at a specific place in the universe and have tea or coffee- but that’s all it is- a trick. There is no such thing as the past. It exists only in the memory. There is no such thing as the future. It exists only in our imagination. If our watches were truly accurate, the only thing they would ever say is “Now”.

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