2:00 AM

The bell rings from the ship
deck, marking out the hours.
Time comes from tide.
Our ancestors used sand

or shadows, or swinging pendulums,
anything that could be counted
on to keep the days,
intervals, bienniums, eras–

our way of gathering the universe,
packaging it gently into
nanoseconds, ages, epochs.
The clock replaces the bell

as a mathematical tool.
We manipulate the time,
to play golf after work,
or drive in the waning daylight

to the Spring baseball game.
I miss turning back a clock,
gently moving the arms
through the hour.

Now I only change
the time on the microwave,
and the electronic gods take care
of everything else.

Alexandra Umlas lives in Huntington Beach, CA and is currently an MFA student at California State University, Long Beach. Read other articles by Alexandra.