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Four Minutes

by Robert Brice

The fine gentlemen at the clock shop

don't take credit cards—

ironic, as their clocks know the time.


I bought a weight from them

that doesn't quite match the other two.

But I know no one will notice

as long as time passes by.


I adjusted the escapement

a fraction of a millimeter;

the grandfather clock stops

after no more than four minutes.


It's the clock my father built

when I was just a child

before I understood

what it meant to build,

what broken means,

or the relief and curse

of time standing still.

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