Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Time-Farmers

BY DIMITER KENAROV

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.



Dimiter Kenarov is a freelance journalist based out of Sofia, Bulgaria. His work has appeared in The NationThe Boston ReviewEtiqueta NegraThe Virginia Quarterly Review (where he is a contributing editor), and was recently anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing 2009. He is a doctoral student in English at the University of California, Berkeley.