The Hunchback’s Rhythm

Rich Murphy

The watch ticks in your wrist;
a clock inflates and deflates beneath your shirt.
Your parents’ radii spin across
your wall of cheek bones and teeth
while you fill the squares of the calendar
black and blue as though the sun and moon
beating their syllables on your head
were responsible for the unwinding of your posture.
Don't be alarmed should the coo coos in China
also want to report the time
or should the Stock Exchange drop the baton
into the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.
The leather time piece you sit on,
meticulously crafted of loose change
and laborious speculation is for children
and bills you for the black holes.
All these measuring devices are wired
to a source in some way,
but they are luxurious distractions
from the talking of your flesh to its Earth:
Bong! Bong! Forward, march, occasional poets.
Listen to the pattern of petals beneath you, Mayfly.
And act as though Creation keeps exploding
behind your left nipple, god.

—First appeared in Vermont Literary Review

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