The Noise of the Clock

by Luke Otley

Phone screen like a drought plain,
like
a thousand smacked mouths
and split lips
run in rivers
rushing at the edges,
your fingernails
and their microscopic dirt germ worlds
clinging
desperate

And your mouth dry
aching for surprise
or any word
out the norm,
any hint
or any promise
that the final drop of shock
like the last bronze leaf
of autumn
might hold on
against the odds

And we’ll all be thirty soon,
no matter what jokes
we bowl
over the noise
of the clock.