Clocking The Hours

— Pushpa MacFarlane

Awake, I can hear the minutes
hammering away at break of day,
percolating through the early hours—

every drop bringing in the smell
of white jasmine that creeps by
the window, draping over the arbor

listlessly like a lover drained.
I walk into the early-morning garden
and see two grey doves set aside

their usual grace, and boisterously
collide mid-air, untangle, fly away,
then flying again into each other cooing

noisily. Birdsong fills the air
over the red pepper tree by the sidewalk,
its branches suddenly laden and green.

The metal and green plastic rakes
lie silently side by side, their claws
digging into the dry earth.

Disheveled clumps of wild grass sprawl
in piles, as if exhausted from being rooted out.
The sun gleams at a slant over the area

yet to be worked on. The woodpecker
crackles on the palm tree, restless,
tightening its ratchet-like twitter

up a notch. With every blow of the hoe
the earth bleeds into the rhubarb-red
base of the grass. I watch in silence—

a single dew-drop as it precariously
tears on a blade of grass, catches a glint
of midmorning sun, then disappears.

I sit down on the brick-paved steps
to catch my yoga-held breath.

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