Apprentices to time

The year stands lightly,
by the door.
An apprentice to time,
His tenure is done.
He holds up the key
And with a wistful sigh,
Talks of bags and suitcases
Waiting to be packed.

He talks of memories,
Lying in silken pouches
And far too many days
Colored – by reminiscence
Drying in the sun, still.
He would leave them behind
As footnotes
For a new journeyman.

He talks of hope,
He had bundled
Into a grand old closet,
Creaking with the wisdom
Of years that had passed it by.

And with a strange fascination
Befitting a toddler,
He counts the minutes
He has left
To pack the fog that hangs heavy –
His handiwork –
Into boxes of lead – his –
To carry – onward into history.
Tears and blood, he has to
Transform – into
neat stories and rounded numbers –
Posterity has time,
Only for approximations
Of misery.

But his last great work,
He says, would be
To leave behind,
The key he fashioned
For the grand old closet.
He would pass on, he says,
The salience of hope
To a new journeyman –
The fresh apprentice to time –
Already on the road.

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