Words by: Marc Nair
It is nothing.
The battery on your watch has run down,
says the patient watchmaker to the harried
young man who comes at this late hour,
brow beading with sweat and worry, unable
to keep a good account of the hours he lives.
This was his father’s gift, and now
a thousand seconds have been lost.
The loupe looks into the soul of the watch.
Time pieces together, springs release,
up to the present moment – old women at
the entrance to the pagoda sell sparrows
for a blessing, pigeons mock and peck
stale scraps beyond their reach.
And the watchmaker winds up the hours,
keeping time, with faith.
The monument in Maha Bandula Park
is no longer the tallest point of reference
for history and its lost conspiracies.
Misinformed skyscrapers engrave another
notch on the skyline as they pile up in
a regiment of exclaimed points.
Tell me about concrete, its lack of memory,
when peacocks adorned every rebel heart
and locks were painted unclasped.
Now, shutters close on the day’s end,
and there are beggars on every corner,
eyes thick with billows of street dust.