My time is not my own, or mine alone.
Everyone says this. No one says it more
than those who have abundant time to spare.
They clearly fail to notice: what takes time
is patting down your pockets to make sure
you didn’t leave it behind. “Tell me where
you might have seen it last.” “Well, if I’d known
that,” you retort, “I wouldn’t have lost time
here in an alley, groping on all fours
under a street lamp just because it’s bright
compared to someplace else I’d rather look.”
Call time a fugitive: nothing sounds more trite—
unless you never willfully mistook
for theft a loss as intricate as yours.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 34 Number 4, on page 46
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