Making Time by Les Kay


In the factory where time is made,
the machines clank and hiss, as steam
escapes and aluminum teeth grind
against each other in unintentional grins.

Moments were the first product line:
small baubles like snow globes
and photographs, but soon enough,
freezing wasn’t nearly enough.

Research and Development moved on
to chemicals that stretched and compressed
the tick tock of a stopwatch,
by infusing sleep, Bliss, and scotch

into pendulums, alarms, and church bells.
The effect was as transient as a child,
but each minute became myriad vistas
where moments fluttered like light in a crystal

vase shattering on ceramic tile floors,
and each second was a caesura
in which whole symphonies could be composed.
Despite what seemed, we were still indisposed

by coffee breaks and independent films,
missing countless meetings when we saw
that our time, in its seeming, was not
the same seeming we had once sought.

The lads in R&D refined the process,
distilling light from the sleepless dreams
of lightning bugs and space from the hollows
of spreadsheets and flights of split-tailed swallows.

But, for us, there was no excess at all.
It had all been packed in cardboard
and cellophane, then shipped on a semi
to an office, a clinic, and the local mall.





Les Kay’s poetry has appeared in a variety of literary journals including Tar River Poetry, Eclipse, PANK, Jabberwock Review, South Dakota Review, la fovea, Blue Earth Review, Redactions, Cellpoems, Whiskey Island, and Santa Clara Review. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife, three very small dogs, and their collective imaginations.


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