Cycle of Sounds

Hickory, dickory, dock-- 
it began of course in the nursery. 
Mouth so safe--the tucked in 
repetitions that would make 
a child smile, absurd words-- 
how I loved the non-
sense. The mouse

ran up the clock. 
Then, the clock struck one. 
The chemotherapy is working. 
Her hair has not yet fallen 
to the dried out ground--just thins. 
I sit and listen

as she retells her life's stories--hear only 
the fragile rhythms. The notes expand 
then stick together. The accordion of her 
years fans then shrinks to a small space. 
The music and the place
will remain here after

conversation is over. I run 
Down there every afternoon to check 
the minute and the hour
hands, the drum and the pendulum, the weight-- 
to reverse the escapement.
The mouse ran down, 
the mouse ran up. She's trapped

inside the ticking clock, 
and I flail against the break-
proof glass, not able to get her out. 
As ridiculous as it sounds

hickory, dickory, dock.

Copyright © 2002 by Susan Hahn. Published 2002 by TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.