NaPoWriMo – #23

What is the gold standard of time?
And how do we tell time
by the sun and the stars
when the ever-constant sun
opens and closes the star gate
at different “times”
not just each day,
but each year
on the same day?
(Is that why we don’t
wear sun dials on our wrists?)
Just what is this thing we measure
and divide into smaller and smaller bits?
Who enforces this abstraction?
And what arrogance enables us,
mere specks in the cosmos,
to believe we are keeping time
not just for Greenwich
but for the entire Universe?

I think this poem probably reflects my ignorance of science more than anything, but it originated when I was looking up times of sunset. And of course, the time of sunset changes with daylight growing shorter and longer with the seasons, but didn’t realize that also, sunset is at a different time on the same day of different years. Of course it is, because with leap year the same day isn’t even the same each year. That was poorly said, but hopefully you know what I mean. Then I looked up the time standard and discovered it’s no longer called Greenwich Mean, but Coordinated Universal Time. So, that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know – but I hope it wasn’t a waste of your time!

January Pre-Dawn

Early morning
so sharp
they cut through
the blue-black back drop
of icy air,
hang above

staccato yips and cries
of coyotes 
so close,
as if I could 
reach them
if I stretched – or

perhaps they could reach me, teach me
the desperate, wild
in their cries


I sit with the moon
when everyone else
is tucked away, dreaming
I recite the stars
like a litany
rolling them
around my mouth
touching each tooth
one by one until I have
emptied the sky



I look
to the sky
as I draw the dark
around my shoulders

With a shiver
I contemplate
the cold, impossible light
of stars
so fair
so far

Here we go…

Photo from Public Domain Images

Well, Well

There is a well of darkness
in the center of my chest
deep and steep-sided

I throw in a penny
then sprinkle it with tears
for all my wishes that
can never be

It’s so simple, really
falling and falling
and finally hitting bottom

Then I reach down
and draw out
a dipper-full of stars


This is for Joy, who has resurrected the Flash Friday 55 tradition started by the late, great Galen Hayes.  Check it out at Verse Escape.


Dream by Jacek Yerka

Dream by Jacek Yerka

The river
is always rising,
carrying me somewhere
I cannot yet see.

I float on
looking for the farther shore
but somehow I slip past everything
I know,
out to an ocean
as dark and smooth as oil.

Unfamiliar stars turn above
and beneath me.
The out-of-phase moon
throws her light before me
the edge of the Earth.
I try to paddle back
against the tide
losing a little
with each stroke.

All my nightmares
now sail
along with me

The clocks have all lost their numbers;
why do we always think we have time?

Written for Magpie Tales creative writing group.