Routine Maintenance

Every year, they marched me
to a hall full
of clocks that pulsed
synonymous with my clicking limbs.
The watchmaker had tools
for fingers – a screwdriver fifth;
he pointed with pliers, and we grew
large behind his splayed palms.

The room was filled with
clocks, freshly polished.
Their metal frames gleamed, groaned
as they curved into place
on the tables, in spirals.

‘You may begin.’

My eyes glowed blue, too bright
for quartz; head gears
whirred too fast, my hamster heart.
Dust shook from my hands;
exhaled motes, dancing
in steam, were cooled and dripped down
the window. I sat,

he cut open my head;
pulled out gears, interrogated
as he went. He wanted to learn
what I knew, not how I felt –
he snapped a gear when I was
wrong, left me to close

the gap.

published on DeviantArt, November 2013