Ornamental, silver winged watches that keep inaccurate time
and starstruck soldiers on the banks of a forgotten flood,
a quiet whisper reminding me
the clock is ticking in the wrong direction.
The tan sand looks foreign and warm,
I put my toes into the flood,
hoping to become one of the souls floating in it,
but nothing happens.
There’s a bridge over the river Styx now,
boldly built with golden rails and decorative cog wheels,
the guard on duty is a Z model,
they call him Rob, but he answers to Siri as well.
I ask him if he has the time,
and he just nods and asks me for the password,
I kiss him on the cheek lightly
and he tells me: “That wasn’t it”.
I kiss him on his cold, metal mouth,
and reluctantly he reciprocates
putting his arm on the small of my back.
I hear a rustling sound from within him.
When I pull away I see images in his yellow eyes,
They are the faces of people I once loved.
I point to the other side of the bridge,
but he shakes his head and demands a password.
I walk down to the river again,
one of the soldiers holds a watch in his hand,
it’s tiny, and it’s ticking,
ticking slowly, to the rhythm of my heartbeat.
I pry the watch from his dead hands
stroke the silver back and stare at the cogs
that are visible through the glass,
golden leaves decorate the hour hand.
I put it in my bra and wade into the river,
I feel the cold water tickling my body,
caressing it as if it will never let me go.
It’s like swimming upstream, getting to the other side.
I hear the ticking turn louder,
suddenly alarm bells sound off
Rob runs over the bridge,
fast as lightning to greet me.
I drag myself out of the water,
my skin crawls,
the clothes I had are gone,
but the clock is now engraved between my breasts.
You can see the cog wheels
of my innards, stuck as they are,
iron deficiency discernible,
my differentials are all made of clay.
A silver lining starts from the palm of my hands,
spiralling up my arm and towards my heart,
down my legs and covering my toes.
I feel a lingering sense of awe.
Rob hugs me tight,
tells me “There you are,”
and gives me a golden shovel,
to bury my past with.
The clock is ticking in the wrong direction,
silvery wings sprout from my chest,
I still see the faces of those I once loved,
in the Z model’s yellow eyes.
There are no real human beings here,
no warm flesh, nor sympathetic souls,
just the cybernetic City of the Golden Binoculars,
and the bridge of cogs that Rob guards.
The Bridge is of great significance I feel,
I’ve lost the password to it,
but I still see my loved one on the other side,
searching frantically for the right time.