New York City skyline at night




Shelley Hainer

At Grand Central Station

The hands are missing on the clock
yet the people rush to make their trains.
Every day that naked face which cannot tell
which way to turn, which way is home, or
if it's night or day, or what day it is stares
straight ahead, in blank aware of passersby.

Homeless and without direction, caught
not in an eternal question, rather lost in
a void, it cannot tell its secret woe,
its secret joy, it doesn't know what is passing
by, it doesn't know the presence of humanity
in its midst. There is no presence to the

missing of its lost hands, typically going round
and round at intervals of comfort, a reassuring
rub alongside each sacred second of existence
to claim a life. This open-faced vastness, now
a tick-less numbered wasteland, a circle without
reference, a relic of empty expression, purposeless;

It cannot tell time.


What I Rely On

Down the escalator I go ready to glance at my friend.
But her face, or is it his? Perhaps, yes, his face wiped clean,
Handless, no way to point, and so, confused.

Unable to fashion momentary commentary to those beholden,
Cast eyes, like mine, count on synchronized dictation;
An orientation of hands on numbers.

Those hands strike me in the belly. Punch a sign,
Language in sensation, as I descend the stair.
My solar plexus plops like feet that hit the ground.

Face-to-face without even a finger to point the way,
The broken utility awakens an ever present ticking inside me,
Even as I stare at the wonder of presence by a stopped clock.



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