Come spring, they plant cogs by the dozen
in the broken ground, and wind up
patience. Then, just in case,
someone puts up a scarecrow to stand guard
at the edge of the farm
or maybe to serve as a sundial with two hands.
Time-farmers. Unsubsidized by the government,
untouched by technology, they use
only the most primitive tools:
a pendulum and an endless string
to sway over the heads of tick-tocking cattle;
instead of grain they stack up hours
in the barn, and later grind them down
to fine seconds, before bread rises in the oven,
just in time for supper.
Such simple life, gathering to spend, until
a drought comes around,
or a flood, and the cogs fail.
Only hunger is left to cuckoo
like an absent grandfather clock.