Alex was a pickpocket,
a thief. He was a keeper of time,
husband to Mathilde
(who was kind, green-eyed, and fair).
Alex and Kirsten met at a neighbourhood barbeque
in the suburbs north and east of Odessa.
Kirsten was a coquette who quickly became his paramour.
They would sneak away for time together
She always carried a phone
to stay in touch with her mother.
He always kept a watch, a stolen timepiece that controlled time
ensuring that it ran linearly.
Until it no longer did.
One summer afternoon, Alex and Kirsten arranged a tryst
in a citrus grove near the river’s edge. In his haste,
he dropped his pocket watch. It fell from his waistcoat, landed on the river bank.
The clock disappeared, quickly covered in white sand
due to the lovers frantic coupling.
No one noticed for a time. Till the movement on Alex’ watch slowed and stopped,
time went awry; time ran backwards, time ran in loops, time ran in circles.
Caught herself; in a vicious, repetitious loop Mathilde, eventually spied her
husband and his consort passionately engaged.
Kind, unassuming Mathilde – killed them both, shoved them into the current.
She tossed the phone after them and picked the watch up from the sand.
She fastened it around her neck. Like a locket.
When she wound the mainspring, time eventually settled back down.
To again become linear, smooth, predictable, unavoidable.
Mathilde was a widow. She was the keeper of time.